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Table Tennis: Manika Batra Eyes India Open Glory

Manika Batra's Rio Olympics appearance was short-lived but India's young table tennis star is keen to make a mark at the ITTF World Tour India Open 2017, the country's biggest international event.

Amit Kumar | News18 Sportsamitkumar104

Updated:February 16, 2017, 5:07 PM IST
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Table Tennis: Manika Batra Eyes India Open Glory
Manika Batra. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Manika Batra's Rio Olympics appearance was short-lived but India's young table tennis star is keen to make a mark at the ITTF World Tour India Open 2017, the country's biggest international event.

"Training is over for me. I want to give my best in the tournament. I am already in the main draw and my aim is to put up a good performance for my country and win the tournament," Manika Batra told News18.com in an exclusive interview.

"My coach Massimo Costantini has worked a lot on me. I have gone through a vigorous training under him. I have come here to win. I want to beat some star players," an upbeat Manika said.

Manika suffered a first round loss against Polland’s Katarzyna Franc-Grzybowska at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Indian paddler gave a solid fight to her Polish opponent but lost 12-10, 6-11, 12-14, 11-8, 4-11, 12-14.

"It was my maiden Olympics. I gave my best. I gave a strong fight to my opponent (Poland's Franc-Grzybowska). It was a big learning curve for me. I learnt what is the pressure of playing in a big event like Olympics is. It is really different. I have to go a long way. I know I will do well in Tokyo (Olympics 2020)," Manika said.

Manika has been taking valuable tips from veteran Indian table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal, who recently won the Senior Nationals for the seventh time in his glorious career.

"He (Achanta Sharath Kamal) is a senior player and my inspiration too. I follow him closely and try to emulate him. He is always there whenever I need him. He has lots of experience and he shares those with all of us. He asks us to correct the shots whenever we make any mistake," Manika said.

"Ahead of the tournament, I took advice from him and he guided me well," the 21-year-old added.

Already in the main draw of the tournament, Manika is confident of the title victory and hopeful of getting a huge home support.

"There won’t be much pressure on me as the tournament is happening in Delhi. I am confident that I can win this title. I want to take one game at a time. I would like to request my Delhi people to please come and cheer for me," the Delhi paddler signed off.

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| Edited by: Amit Kumar
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