Paddlers Sharath Kamal-Manika Batra clinch Olympic quota in mixed doubles
Star Indian paddlers Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra clinched a mixed doubles quota spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Sharath-Batra pair stunned top seeds Sang-Su Lee and Jihee Jeon in the mixed doubles final of the Asian Olympic Qualification event in Doha on Saturday. Ranked 18 in the world, the Indian pair turned things around after trailing by two games. Here's more.
Interestingly, there was just one mixed doubles quota place available at this event. This was Sharath and Batra's final shot to reach the Olympic Games, The two produced a stirring come back to win 8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 13-11, 11-8.
Sharath and Batra had overcome Singapore's Koen Pang Yew En and Lin Ye 4-2 in the semifinals on Friday. They won the match 4-2 (12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 13-11).
At the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta, Sharath and Batra bagged the bronze medal in the mixed doubles category. That was India's first mixed doubles medal in Asian Games history. Sharath and Batra assured themselves of a medal after beating North Korea An Ji Song and Cha Hyon Sim 3-2 in a thrilling quarter-final match. They lost in the semis.
On Thursday, four Indian 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. Sathiyan and Mukherjee sealed their spots with group-topping wins at the tournament. Kamal and Batra's qualification was based on their higher ranking.