Tokyo Olympics: Manika leads women force; Becomes the first table tennis player to make the grade in the discipline in recent times

11:29 PM Jul 25, 2021 | FPJ News Service

Tokyo: Women led the charge Indians in the medal hunt on the second day of the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, leading the women force in the medal hunt in this XIV edition of the Summer Games was the paddler Manika Batra.

India's table tennis star Manika Batra made a stunning comeback against world number 32 Margaryta Pesotska to reach the women's singles third round, and become the first in recent times to make the grade in this discipline.


However, G Sathiyan succumbed to the pressure on his Olympic debut to exit the men's singles competition.


While the 26th seed Sathiyan was expected to beat world number 94 Hong Kong's Siu Hang Lam in his second round match after getting a first round bye, the same cannot be said about Manika, whose gritty approach under pressure proved decisive against her higher-ranked opponent from Ukraine.

Manika, ranked 62, made a remarkable comeback after losing the first two games to prevail 4-11, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 in a second round match that lasted 57 minutes.

She meets Austria's Sofia Polcanova on Monday for a place in the round of 16. If Manika manages another upset, it will be a significant achievement for the Indian in her second Olympics.

Like her first round match, she did not want the national coach in her corner on Sunday but her personal coach Sanmay Paranjape was seen in the gallery.

However, the way she fought throughout the game, it showed she was supremely confident about her abilities and did not any need any court side support.

Down and out after the first two games and trailing even in the third, Manika somehow clawed her way back into the match.

She used the pimple rubber to good effect thereafter and combined it with a more offensive approach. The match saw long rallies, slow as well as fast ones, as Manika twiddled with her bat amazingly to find forehand and backhand winners.

The sixth game which she won after trailing 2-5 turned the tide in her favour decisively. The timeout worked as she reeled off nine points in a row to give herself five game points before levelling the match at 3-3.

With momentum in her side, Manika controlled the deciding game and sealed the match with a forehand cross court winner.

Earlier, world number 38 Sathiyan had a commanding 3-1 lead but lost four games in a row to lose 3-4 to lower-ranked Lam from Hong Kong.

And it was the six-time world champion M C Mary Kom (51kg) led from the front as she powered into the pre-quarterfinals after staving off a stiff challenge from Dominican Republic's Miguelina Hernandez Garcia in the opening round here on Sunday.

The 38-year-old, who is a 2012 Olympic bronze-medallist, prevailed 4-1 against a rival who is 15 years her junior and a Pan American Games bronze-medallist.

In a bout that was exciting from start to finish, Mary Kom displayed some brilliant tactics to overcome the spirted fight that Garcia put up.

If she held back in the opening round to get a good measure of her rival, the veteran was aggression personified in the final three minutes after Garcia bagged the second round with some fierce punching of her own.

Mary Kom, a mother of four, will next be up against third-seeded Colombian medallist Ingrit Valencia, who was a bronze-medallist at the 2016 Rio Games.

India's Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu started her campaign at the Games without breaking a sweat, cantering to a comprehensive 21-7, 21-10 win over Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel in a women's singles Group J match.

Also in the medal hunt was Manika Batra who won her second round women's singles table tennis match, beating Margaryta Pesotska of Ukraine.

And the Indian rower duo of Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh qualified for the repechage semi-final A/B in lightweight men's double sculls.

The winners

PV Sindhu started her campaign with a comprehensive 21-7, 21-10 win over Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel in the women's singles preliminary round match.

Indian TT player Manika Batra wins her second round women's singles match at Olympics, beating Margaryta Pesotska of Ukraine.

Indian boxer M C Mary Kom (51kg) enters pre-quarters of Olympic Games, beating Dominica's Miguelina Hernandez Garcia in opening round.

The Indian Rower duo of Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh qualified for the repechage semi-final A/B in lightweight men's double sculls.

The losers

Indian shooters buckled under pressure for a second successive day as Manu Bhaker and Yashaswini Singh Deswal failed to make the finals of the women's 10m air pistol event.

Sania Mirza and debutant Ankita Raina were knocked out despite dominating a large part of their women's doubles opener against Ukrainian twin sisters Nadiia and Liudmyla Kichenok.

Australia thrash India 7-1 in men's hockey

Indian swimmers Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel's Olympic campaign came to an end as the two youngsters failed to qualify for the semifinals of their respective events.

Indians in action today @ the Games

ARCHERY: Pravin Jadhav, Atanu Das and Tarundeep Rai vs Kazakhstan in Men's Team 1/8 Eliminations: 6:00am

Badminton: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty vs Marcus Gideon Fernaldi/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia) in Men's Doubles Group A Match: 9:10am

BOXING: MAshish Kumar vs Erbieke Tuoheta (China) in Men's 75kg Round of 32 Bout: 3:06pm

FENCING: C Bhavani Devi vs Nadia Ben Azizi (Tunisia) in Women's Sabre Individual Table of 64 match: 5:30am

HOCKEY: India vs Germany (Women's Pool A) 5:45pm

SAILING:: Vishnu Saravanan in Men's Laser Race: 8:35am; Nethra Kumanan in Women's Laser Radial Race: 11:05am

SHOOTING: : Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa in Men's Skeet Event Day 2: 6:30am; Mens' Skeet Final: 12:20pm

SWIMMING: S Prakash in men's 200m butterfly heats: 3:45pm

TABLE TENNIS: Achanta Sharath Kamal vs Tiago Apolonia (Portugal) in men's singles Round 2 Match: 6:30am; Manika Batra vs Sofia Polcanova (Austria) in Women's Singles Round 3 match 12:00pm

TENNIS: Sumit Nagal vs Daniil Medvedev (ROC) in men's singles Rd 2: Third match after 7:30am

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