On Saturday, November 19, Manika Batra became the first Indian woman in history to win a bronze medal at the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup tournament which is being hosted in Bangkok this year. It is also India’s first medal in the sport since Chetan Baboor’s Bronze win in 2000.
The world No. 44 began the tournament with a stellar performance in the first round of face-offs, defeating World no. 7, Chen Xingtong of China. Further, Batra’s defeat in the semi-final match against second-seeded Mima Ito of Japan did not hinder her qualification for the bronze medal match which was played later in the day.
The bronze medal match not only reflected Batra’s undying desire to win but also her champion abilities to turn the game around with her tricks and strategies. She defeated world No. 6, Hina Hayata, 4-2 to clinch the bronze. Batra showcased her incredible abilities during the fourth round of the playoffs, with Hayata having four game points under her belt, with a score of 10-6. Batra launched herself completely into the game using crisp forehands, unplayable counters and excellent backhand shots, which steadily brought her back into the game with a score of 11-10. By the sixth game, Batra’s quiet demeanour took a turn, and the paddler changed her strategy to attacking right from the moment the game began. With frustration setting in for Hayata, Batra managed to finish the game on a fabulous note with a score of 11-2.
“I am really happy with my performance here in the Asian Cup 2022, defeating the world’s best and high-ranked players. Winning a bronze medal was a great achievement for me and I went into this tournament with a very positive approach and confidence to my outstanding performance and things went as per strategy. And also, I have learnt things from here as well as my past tournaments. I have noticed that small changes can make a big difference in life, so, I’m really satisfied with some of my decisions which I have made before coming to this tournament as it really helped me to believe in myself again. Every athlete has ups and downs in his/her career and I have learned from my mistakes and on the road to improvement…” the winner took to Instagram and wrote. Hear, Hear!
Batra’s win was also recognised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Droupadi Murmu who took to Twitter to congratulate her. From being criticised and trolled for fashion choices as a TT player, to achieving an incredible feat and creating history, Batra has proven herself yet again with her endless perseverance and passion. We wish her nothing but more wins and resilience!