Indian TT teams falter in Tokyo Olympic qualifiers

The Indian Men and Women table tennis teams failed to deliver as per expectations at the pre-quarterfinals of the Olympic qualifying as they were knocked out of the tournament losing to Slovenia and Romania respectively. With the loss, India’s chances of qualifying for the mega event have also become bleak.

The Indian women’s team faced Romania but the team suffered a loss and failed to make it to the quarterfinals. India had to just advance into the quarterfinals of the event in order to get an Olympic ticket, however, they went down fighting in an exciting match 2-3.indian mens tt team in olympic

The first match was in women’s doubles in which the Indian pair of Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee suffered a 2-3 defeat and Romania took a 1-0 lead. After that Manika Batra showed her excellent skills and brought back India into the game in the women’s singles. Manika defeated World No. 19 Bernadette Jokes 7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7, the biggest win of her career, to level the score 1-1. After this, the doubles loser Ayhika Mukherjee got another defeat in her singles match. Elizabeta Samara overwhelmed the Indian 10-12, 11-5, 2-11, 7-11 to put Romania in lead once again.

The Indian team again made a comeback and this time, Sutirtha beat world number 19 Szocs. Sutirtha edged Szocs 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 3-11, 11-4 and leveled the match at 2–2.

manikabatra.olympic-qualifiersManika Batra who was facing 134 ranked Daniela Monteiro in the final match, was expected to push India ahead. However, to her dismay, Batra went down 8-11, 4-11, 11-3, 2-11, and India missed a golden opportunity to qualify for the Olympic.

However, the fifth-seeded men’s team was more frustrated by 11th seed Slovenia who pulled curtains on the Indian team’s campaign with a 3–1 victory. Indian men started off with a win in doubles but the singles defeats of G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai put the team in a difficult position.

In the first match, Sharath Kamal and Desai defeated Bojan Tokic and Deni Kozul 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-5) to give India a 1-0 lead. Later in the singles event, Darako Jorgic ranked 40th in the world rankings, beat G Sathiyan (world ranking 30) 11-9, 12-10, 11-3 to level the match 1-1. But soon the Slovenian’s took a 2-1 lead as Desai, ranked 86 in singles lost 11-5, 10-12, 11-6, 5-11, 6-11 to 62nd-ranked Tokic.

Sharath Kamal (world ranking 33)was now tasked to level the score for India, but he failed to do so as he lost 10-12, 11-7, 12-10, 11-3 against Jorgic. Thus, the Indian men’s team also knocked out after losing 3-1.

If the team had won the quarter-finals, they would have got an Olympic ticket but now they have to qualify for the Olympics by winning in the plate division. All teams that lost in the final 16 will try to qualify for Olympics by wining in the plate division.