Table tennis: Four Indian players qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympics
India have a reason to smile as four paddlers qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Achanta Sharath Kamal, Gnansekaran Sathiyan, Sutirtha Mukherjee, and Manika Batra qualified for the global event at the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament in Doha on Thursday. Sathiyan and Mukherjee sealed their spots with group-topping wins at the tournament. Kamal and Batra's qualification is based on their higher ranking. Here's more.
Fourth Olympic qualification for Sharath Kamal
This is the fourth Olympic qualification for Sharath. In 2016, he faced a first-round exit after losing to Adrian Krisan. Prior to that, he was the only men's player from India to make it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He suffered a second-round exit and had also faced a similar result at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He failed to qualify for 2012 London Olympics.
How things panned out for Sharath and Sathiyan?
Sathiyan overcame Sharath 4-3 (11-9, 15-13, 5-11, 7-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8) in the opening match to gain significant advantage in terms of qualification. Both the players then played Pakistan's Muhammad Rameez and beat him to seal their spots. Sharath beat Rameez 4-0 (11-4, 11-1, 11-5, 11-4), whereas, Sathiyan beat Rameez 4-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2) to clinch the spot reserved for South Asia region.
Mukherjee had beaten Batra in a winner-takes-all clash
Mukherjee, India's second-highest-ranked female player, beat Batra 4-2 (7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 11-4) in a winner-takes-all clash. Despite her defeat, Batra made the cut as the highest-ranked second-placed players in the group.
Sharath and Batra hope to secure mixed doubles qualification
The Indians will now shift focus on securing mixed doubles qualification. Sharath and Batra have made it to the semi-finals after the pair defeated Mohammed Abdulwahhab and Maha Faramarzi of Qatar 4-0 (11-6, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3) in the quarters.