Blog by : Khusboo Kothatri
Manika Batra is an Indian table tennis player. As of April 2018, she is the top-ranked female table tennis player in India and ranked 58th in the world.
Batra was born on 15 June 1995 as the youngest of three children.She hails from Naraina Vihar in Delhi and began playing table tennis at the age of four.Her elder sister Anchal and elder brother Sahil both played table tennis,with Anchal having an influence on her during her early playing career. After winning a match in a state-level under-8 tournament, Batra decided to train under coach Sandeep Gupta who suggested her to switch to Hans Raj Model School where he ran his academy.
Batra turned down many modelling offers as a teenager. When she was 16, she declined a scholarship to train at the Peter KarlssonAcademy in Sweden. She studied at the Jesus and Mary College for a year before dropping out to “concentrate” on table tennis.
In 2011, Batra won the silver medal in the under-21 category of the Chile Open.She represented India at the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, where she finished quarterfinalist,as well as the 2014 Asian Games. She won three medals at the 2015 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships,winning silver in the women’s team event (with Ankita Das and Mouma Das) as well as the women’s doubles event (with Ankita Das) and bronze in the women’s singles event.
Batra won three gold medals at the 2016 South Asian Games, winning the women’s doubles event (with Pooja Sahasrabudhe), mixed doubles event (with Anthony Amalraj) and women’s team event (with Mouma Das and Shamini Kumaresan). Batra was denied a fourth gold medal at the Games by Mouma Das, who defeated her in the final of the women’s singles event.She qualified for the women’s singles event of the 2016 Summer Olympics by winning the South Asia group of the qualification tournament in April 2016.However, her appearance at the 2016 Olympics short-lived, as she lost to Katarzyna Grzybowska of Poland in the first round of the women’s individual event.
Batra led the Indian women’s team to a gold medal win in the final against four-time gold medalists and defending champions Singapore at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. The Singapore women’s table tennis team had never lost in the Commonwealth Games since the sport was inducted in the program in 2002. Batra defeated world number 4 Feng Tianwei as well as Zhou Yihan in India’s 3–1 win in the final.
Batra and Mouma Das won India’s maiden silver medal in the women’s doubles category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games losing to defending champions Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu of Singapore in the gold medal clash. Manika Batra became 1st Indian woman to bag a commonwealth table tennis individual gold medal in CWG 2018 by beating Yu Mengyu of Singapore. These games were like dream run for Batra as she won 4 medals in 4 events she was participating out of which 2 are gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal.