Tokyo Olympics: Tough Table Tennis Draws will be a Challenge for Indian Paddlers

The table tennis draws for the Tokyo Olympics pose a tough challenge for the Indian paddlers, who will be up against some of the best players in the world.

Indian table tennis contingent at the Tokyo Olympics
Indian table tennis contingent at the Tokyo Olympics

The Indian Table Tennis players on Wednesday were handed out tough draws for the Tokyo Olympics, making their task to reach the Quarterfinal even more difficult. 4 paddlers from India have qualified to 3 events at the Tokyo Olympics and the contingent includes India no. 1 Manika Batra, India no. 2 Sutirtha Mukherjee, World No. 20 Sharath Kamal and World No. 26 Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.

Manika and Sutirtha will represent India in the women’s singles event, while Sharath and Sathiyan will be taking part in the men’s singles event. Manika and Sharath have also qualified for the mixed team event, where they will be facing tough competition in the qualifying rounds itself. The mixed team duo will be up against the World No. 3 pair of Lin Yun-ju and Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei.

Batra however, will hopefully have and easy match in the women’s singles, where she is up against Great Britain’s Ho Tin-Tin, ranked 32 places below the Indian. If Batra makes it through, she will then go up against Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska next.

Sutirtha on the other hand, will go up against world no. 78, Linda Bergstrom. If she makes it, the Indian will have to fight off Portugal’s Yu Fu in the second round.

Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Get Bye in First Round, Will Play Directly in Second Round at the Tokyo Olympics

Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan
Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan

India’s top male paddlers, Sharath and Sathiyan have received a bye in the first round of the men’s singles draw at the Tokyo Olympics. Their opponents for the second round will depend on the winners of the first round.

The world no. 20 Sharath Kamal will either take on Portugal’s Tiano Apolonia or Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo in the second round on Monday. However, if he wins, Kamal will be up against Rio Olympic Champion Ma Long of China in the third round, who is currently second seeded.

In the second round on Sunday, Sathiyan will have to face Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador or Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang. If he wins, Sathiyan will be on to the third round, where he will face the Japanese teenager and world no. 3 Tomokazu Harimoto. Sathiyan has however, beat the youngster in the past before at the 2019 Asian Championships.

The Indian players face a tough challenge to make their way to the Quarterfinals, as they go up against some of the best paddlers in the world. Here is the schedule of the Indian players at the Tokyo Olympics, and who they will be up against.

EventPlayerRound 1Round 2Round 3Round of 16
Women’s SinglesManika BatraHo Tin-TinMargaryta Pesotska
Women’s SinglesSutirtha MukherjeeLinda BergstromYu Fu
Men’s SinglesSharath Kamal ByeTiano Apolonia or Olajide OmotayMa Long
Men’s SinglesSathiyan GnanasekaranByeBrian Afanador or Lam Siu HangTomokazu Harimoto
Mixed TeamSharath Kamal, Manika BatraLin Yun-ju and Cheng I-Ching

Also read: India at Tokyo Olympics: Where do Indian athletes for the Summer Olympic Games hail from?