CWG 2018

CWG 2018 table tennis: Magnificent Manika Batra wins historic gold in women’s singles

Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal clinched the silver in the men’s doubles category.

A marauding Manika Batra created history by becoming the first Indian woman table tennis player to win a singles gold at the Commonwealth Games while Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan went down fighting in the men’s doubles to win silver in Gold Coast on Saturday.

World No. 58 Batra’s dream run in the quadrennial event continued as she blanked 50th-ranked Yu Mengyu of Singapore 4-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-2, 11-7) in a one-sided final.

However, it was the semifinal win over World No. 4 Feng Tianwei that meant more for the 22-year-old.

The Delhi-based paddler showed that her crucial victory against multiple Olympic medallist Feng in the team final was no fluke as she edged out the mighty Singaporean 4-3 (12-10, 5-11, 11-8, 5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 13-11) in the semifinals earlier in the day.

The Indian foxed Feng for the second time in a row with smart use of her pimpled rubber for both defense and offense. Batra showed remarkable composure and maturity to overcome a 2-3 deficit in a high-pressure final.

“This is my first individual medal in this big tournament and I am feeling really proud,” said Batra after her phenomenal effort.

On her overall Games experience, she added: “The experience was amazing - I defeated the world number four twice and now Yu to win gold. I am feeling really happy and very proud for my country.”

Batra will have the chance of winning a medal in all four categories when she pairs up with Sathiyan for the bronze medal play-off in mixed doubles.

Besides guiding India to team gold, Batra had paired up with veteran Mouma Das to win the country’s first women’s doubles silver.

India has already recorded its best-ever showing in table tennis at Commonwealth Games, winning three gold, two silver and a bronze. Two more bronze will be added if Batra -Sathiyan combine and Kamal in singles can win their respective play-offs.

Three-time CWG gold medallist Kamal tried his best against Nigeria’s 26th-ranked Aruna Quadri in men’s singles semifinals before going down 0-4 (10-12, 9-11, 9-11, 7-11). The World No. 48 takes on England’s Samuel Walker in the bronze play-off on Sunday.

The Indian great had to endure a tough loss in the men’s doubles final alongside Sathiyan later in the day. The duo lost to familiar rivals from England Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall with the final going into the fifth and final game. The English pairing prevailed 11-5, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9.

The bronze in men’s doubles also went to India as Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shetty sailed past Singapore’s Poh Shao Feng Ethan and Pang Yew En Koen 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 12-10).

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.

Play


The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.