Table tennis players Manika Batra and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan on Tuesday scripted history by becoming the first Indian mixed doubles pair to enter the top five of the ITTF Table Tennis World Rankings.
Manika and Sathiyan climbed up in the rankings after making it to the final of the WTT Contender event in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, where they lost to South Korea’s Lim Jonghoon and Shin Yubin 3-0 in the final.
The India pair earned 280 ranking points for their performance at the event which helped them overtake Hong Kong’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Doo Hoi Kem and her two-time world championship bronze medal-winning partner Wong Chun-ting for the world No.5 spot.
Last year in August, Batra and Gnanasekaran became the first Indian table tennis players to win a WTT Contender title when they defeated Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz in Budapest.
Later, they became the first-ever Indian mixed doubles pair to break into the top 15 of world rankings.
Since then, the Indian pair broke into the top 10 for the first time in March this year. They reached the final of WTT Contender Doha in March but lost to the world No.1 pair of Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching from Chinese Taipei.
“Breaking into the world’s top-5 rankings has truly been a dream come true moment," said Sathiyan in a tweet.
“It is indeed a great milestone towards our goal of reaching the pinnacle and winning that elusive Olympic medal," he added.
Manika and Sathiyan are also India’s top-ranked players in women’s and men’s singles, respectively.
The 27-year-old Manika is 44th in the women’s singles world rankings while women’s national champion Sreeja Akula is ranked 76th.
On the other hand, the 29-year-old Sathiyan is 39th in the men’s singles rankings followed by Commonwealth Games 2022 champion Sharath Kamal at 44th.
In women’s doubles, Manika and her partner Archana Girish Kamath remained at world No. 5 while Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar are India’s top-ranked men’s doubles pair at world No. 29.
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