Manika Batra creates history with Asian Cup TT bronze medal
Manika Batra became the first Indian table tennis player to win a medal in the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup after defeating world number six and three-time Asian champion Hina Hayata of Japan in the bronze play-off in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday (November 19).
The world number 44 stunned Hayata 4-2 (11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 4-11, 11-2) to achieve the incredible feat.
Besides the historic bronze, Manika will also carry home $10,000 for her efforts.
“I am so so happy winning a bronze medal in this Asian cup. This is really a big victory for me. Defeating top players was challenging and I’m proud of my victory. It was so wonderful playing and competing against them. I will continue this hard work and will give my best in future tournaments as well. Thank you everyone for your constant support and cheering. Adding one more milestone for my Country,” said Manika.
Earlier in the day, unseeded Manika lost 2-4 (8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11) to the second-seeded Mima Ito in the semi-finals. She was the first Indian to reach the semi-final stage.
On her way to the bronze, Manika upset world number 7 Chen Xingtong from China in the round of 16, then accounted for 23rd ranked Chen Szu-Yu 4-3 of Taipei in the quarter-finals.
Manika on Friday ensured the best finish by an Indian in the 39-year-old history of the Asian Cup after Achanta Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan had finished sixth in 2015 and 2019 respectively.
The $200,000 event featured the top 16 players in the men’s and women’s singles from the continent based on world rankings and qualifications.
(With agency inputs)