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Manika Batra stuns World No. 2 Wang Manyu ahead of Paris 2024 Olympics

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In a major upset, Indian paddler Manika Batra defeated No. 2 Chinese player Wang Manyu at the Saudi Smash event in Jeddah on Monday. Batra's 3-1 victory over the reigning World Champion is being seen as a significant result, boosting 's medal chances at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

The higher-ranked Wang Manyu had defeated Batra in their previous five meetings. However, the Indian paddler showed tremendous grit and composure to overcome the Chinese opponent on this occasion. She lost the opening game but bounced back to take the next three engagements, winning 6-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10.

Batra's coach Aman Balgu felt this victory has come at an opportune time before the Olympics. “With two months left for the big event, Manika sending out a strong statement bodes well for a potential medal,” he remarked. Former India player Neha Agarwal was also hugely appreciative of Batra's never-say-die attitude during the tight finish. Trailing 8-10 in the decisive fourth game, Batra held her nerve to outfox Wang with a clever switch-hit, narrowly winning 12-10.

After struggling with dipping form last year, Batra has regained momentum in recent months. Her enhanced attacking skills from the forehand wing and improved decision making under pressure have been vital. Coach Balgu noted that the ability to play calm yet aggressive when needed has differentiated Batra against her Asian challengers.

By defeating the reigning World Champion, Batra has further boosted India's team event prospects in Paris. With the likes of Sreeja Akula also achieving notable wins, opponents can no longer take the Indian women lightly. If Batra and teammates can bring this fearless competitive spirit, India could be in line for a table tennis medal after over four decades. The stage is set for an exciting Olympics next summer.

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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