Manika Batra is only 26 years old but she is a seasoned professional with valuable experience. Four years after making a splash at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the table tennis star heads into a pivotal year with new aspirations and goals.
The Delhi paddler made history at the 2018 Commonwealth Games by becoming the first Indian woman to win the individual gold medal. In Gold Coast, Manika demonstrated that her highly rated potential can bring India big medals in major events. She has won up to 4 medals at the CWG, including 2 finishes on the top step of the podium. She followed that up with a bronze medal in mixed doubles at the Asian Games that year.
Just last year, Manika reached the third round in women’s singles at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and made history again. The much talked about paddler is hungry for more and willing to work harder than ever to achieve her dreams in the crucial next few years. .
In a year when she will defend her Commonwealth Games title and look to make another splash at the Asian Games, Manika has returned to the top 50 in women’s singles rankings. She is in the top 10 in both mixed doubles and women’s doubles.
Speaking to Indiatoday.in, Manika Batra said that a boost in terms of ranking improvement is needed for every athlete to dream bigger.
“My main goal in singles is to be in the top 20, top 30. That’s a realistic goal. I’ll work hard for that. Whether I’m training on or off the table, I’m motivated. It’s good to be back I’m in the top 50. I was in the top 50 in 2019. Players need that kind of kick. I think I can do it after getting in the top 50. I have to focus on preparing well,” said Manika .
“I have the Paris Olympics in mind, but I have to take one tournament at a time. If I think about Paris too much, I won’t be able to do well in the upcoming tournaments. Of course, it’s my dream and my dream.” greatest goal – to do good for the country in Paris. But I want to take it one step at a time,” she added.
MY PAIRING WITH SATHIYAN WORKS WELL: MANIKA
Manika said her partnership with G Sathiyan is going well (AFP Photo)
While singles remains her main focus, Manika said he was delighted to bring more credit to the country with her promising partnership with G Sathiyan. The duo entered the top 10 of the ITTF rankings earlier this month.
Manika and Sathiyan returned as mixed doubles partners after the Tokyo Olympics and made an immediate impact by winning the World Table Tennis Championships title in Hungary and reaching the quarterfinals at the World Championships. Notably, at the Tokyo Games, Manika was partnered with veteran Achantha Sharath Kamal.
Manika was in Chennai earlier this month and was training with Sathiyan for the WTT Contenders in Muscat next month.
Manika emphasized that it is difficult for them to have such training sessions together frequently, adding: “Usually we can’t do that. He also has his one-on-one training.
“We worked a lot to understand each other’s styles and movements. We can work on the skills alone, but the right partnership is important. At the same time we have to work on individual training. We now have tournaments in a row. We will decide about training together at a later date.
“Every player has a different style. I think with Sathiyan my pairing is good. I have a feeling the combination works well. I think we have a chance to do well in big tournaments, top 10. We will keep working hard.”
“BE STRONG AND DO IT”
Manika has signed a deal with well-known sportswear manufacturer Adidas for the “Impossible is Nothing” campaign. The partnership is focused on empowering women to achieve their dreams, empowering women, breaking down barriers and making a resonant impact in the world of sport.
Manika urged young rural girls to dream big, adding: “I would say just follow your dreams. They (kids) may not know when to start at a professional level. keep motivating them. I would like to ask the parents not to put pressure on their children. I want to tell the girls to do whatever they want. Just go and be strong and do it,” she added.
“I WORKOUT WHEN I FEEL LOW”
Manika Batra said she works out when she’s feeling down (Reuters Photo)
Manika had to cope with many ups and downs in her successful career, which promises much more. Having played for India in the major tournaments back in 2014, Manika has learned the art of dealing with success and failure without being overly influenced by it.
When she’s feeling down, she works out. When she’s excited, she trains.
“So failures and wins, it will come and go. We have to deal with it. We can’t stop it or ignore it. If I’m bad, I go and train. If I’m upset or lose, I go to train the next day or on same day. Of course, if I’m happy, I train at that time too,” Manika said.
She sheds light on her typical training day, adding, “My training day starts with meditation. It helps me calm down. Then I went to the table for training. I’m doing my workout. I take a break in between.
“Even when training at the table, I have my processes. I train specifically for games, opponents. Before tournaments I focus on mobility and endurance. Nutrition is also a very important aspect of my preparation. I have to eat right. Eat and have food at the right time.”