Mumbai: India’s second-highest ranked women’s singles player Sutirtha Mukherjee booked a Tokyo Olympics spot with a 4-2 win over Manika Batra in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Doha on Thursday.
The South Asia zone had both the Indian table tennis players featuring in the women’s singles draw and the result was vastly more important for Sutirtha, since Manika will go through by virtue of her ranking among players entered into AOQT.
The players traded the first four games before Sutirtha pulled away, posting 11-5, 11-4 wins in the fifth and fifth games. Ranked 98 in the world, the 24-year old was part of India’s historic women’s team gold win at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Suspended in 2016 over alleged age fudging, Sutirtha worked her way back, winning her first Nationals the following year and made a huge leap in the rankings, from 502 in the world two years ago to finding herself inside the top 100 today.
Among the men, it was a largely assured affair from the start. G Sathiyan won both his matches, against fellow Indian Sharath Kamal and Pakistan’s Muhammad Rameez to confirm his Olympic spot. At 32 in the world, Sharath is placed at the top of the rankings among the Asian pool players in the qualifying events, which should see him through to his fourth Olympic Games.