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Olympic Games: Target to set new standards for India

Monday 19 July

Winner of the women’s singles title at the 2019 South Asia Games in Nepalese capital city of Kathmandu, on Saturday 24th July, Sutirtha Mukherjee makes her Olympic Games debut.

In Tokyo’s Metropolitan Gymnasium, she will compete in the women’s singles event.

Earlier this year, the 25 year old secured qualification at the second attempt.

Present in Doha in March, at the World Qualification tournament she accounted for Belgium’s Lisa Lung (11-3, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10) but then experienced defeat at the hands of Russia’s Polina Mikhailova (10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5).

Disappointment, later at Asian Qualification tournament, on duty in the South Asia Region event, she caused an upset of note; she beat Manika Batra to reserve her Olympic Games place (7-11,11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 11-4). At the time Manika Batra was listed at no.62 on the ITTF Table Tennis World Rankings, Sutirtha Mukherjee at no.98.

Defeat for Manika Batra but she will be present in Tokyo, she gained her place as a result of Olympic ranking.

Sutirtha Mukherjee becomes the eight player from India to compete in the women’s singles event at an Olympic Games; also, she maintains the country’s tradition. India has been ever present but has never been represented in the women’s doubles or women’s team competitions.

Meanwhile, Manika Batra, present in Rio de Janeiro, becomes the third player from India to compete in two editions of the Olympic Games. Niyati Roy-Shah was present in both 1988 in Seoul and 1992 in Barcelona, Mouma Das in 2004 in Beijing and most recently in 2016.

Ambika Radhika was on duty in 1996 in Barcelona, Poulomi Ghatak four years later in Sydney, Neha Aggarwal in 2008 in Beijing and Ankita Das in 2012 in London.

Undoubtedly an exacting task awaits Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee in Tokyo; to date in women’s singles matches at an Olympic Games, the only player to win a match is Niyati Roy-Shah. In 1992 in the group phase of play, she beat Cuba’s Marisol Ramirez.

In Tokyo the goal is to set new standards.

Editor: Ian Marshall

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