Manika Batra says it’s a dream to win Olympic gold
Manika Batra has clearly defined her plans. The Indian paddler wants to win a gold medal at the Olympics and help table tennis gain popularity by paving the way for more young people to take up the sport.
Manika Batra started playing the sport as a hobby at the age of four.
“What started out as a fun activity has now grown into a full-time profession. I did not know I was going to reach this level in table tennis, ”said the paddler, in a video to the Ministry of Sports and Youth.
By her own admission, Manika Batra said representing the country had never been on her radar. At 13, Manika Batra knows her vocation. She wanted to pursue the sport professionally and have a career in table tennis.
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Snubbing offers of modeling, Manika Batra slowly began to make forays into table tennis. The paddler learned quickly and some of the first international medals in her trophy cabinet were the two silver and one bronze medals she won at the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship.
In 2016, Manika Batra topped the South Asian Games table in Guwahati, winning three gold medals. The world began to take notice of the gangly paddler who was quick to her feet with a plethora of kicks in her kitten.
The Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in 2018 were one of the best international tournaments for Manika Batra. The paddler made history by winning four medals, including gold in the women’s singles. She added a gold in the women’s team, a silver in the women’s doubles and a bronze in the mixed doubles, in partnership with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, to conclude a successful outing.
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“I get goosebumps even today when an Indian flag is raised and our national anthem is played after winning. I remember how happy I was to be on the podium at Gold Coast, ”recalls Manika.
His exploits at the Commonwealth Games earned him the “Breakthrough Award” from the International Sports Federation.
Manika Batra’s playstyle – a weapon
The Indian paddler adapts very easily to different styles of play. His ability to slow down a fast game adds an advantage to his playing style. However, what stands out is his ability to shift the paddle from the rubber side to the side. long pimples on the reverse side. The long button-down side is brought to the fore during defensive play and Manika Batra’s ability to quickly switch sides to play an offensive shot (mainly the backhand in her case) keeps her in good position against her opponents.
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“I used to fiddle around for fun, at home, like while eating etc. and it has become a habit. I was like, “Why don’t you put it on the table? It works for me,” said Manika Batra.
Do your part for sport
In her goal of making sport popular, Manika Batra is doing her part to motivate young people to play the sport. At the Pune and Delhi Table Tennis Academy, she makes sure to always be available to young aspirants by helping them play and understand the technical nuances of the sport.
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Manika Batra qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after becoming the second player in the Asian Olympic qualifiers. And when she steps out in Tokyo, Manika Batra knows her mission: to bring Indian table tennis to a place where young aspirants in her country can dream of winning an Olympic medal.