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Commonwealth Games

'Biggest disappointment': What went wrong for Manika Batra at the Commonwealth Games 2022?

Hailed as Golden Girl at the 2018 Gold Coast CWG, Indian paddler Manika Batra is being called as India's 'Biggest Disappointment' at the Birmingham CWG 2022. What went wrong for Manika Batra?

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Manika Batra at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022

By

The Bridge Desk

Published: 6 Aug 2022 4:35 AM GMT

After winning 4 medals, including 2 golds from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, star Indian paddler Manika Batra had broken out as a true sensation for Indian table tennis. Yet four years down the line, at the very Games that shot her into fame, this time at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Manika Batra is on the verge of returning without a single medal after an extremely disheartening show.

The 27-year-old headed into the Birmingham Commonwealth Games as a gold medal favourite and was expected to easily defend her title in the women's singles, at least. However, all of that has come crumbling down, with Batra's game clearly lacking the sting as on an extremely hectic Day 8 for the Indian paddlers, Batra's consistency went missing and she suffered some harsh losses - losing 4-0 in her women's singles and 3-2 in her mixed doubles quarters along with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.

Her only chance to medal now remains in the women's doubles where she has teamed up with Diya Chitale, who isn't even her usual partner, as Archana Kamath, with whom she is ranked World No. 4 was very surprisingly dropped from the team after being initially selected too.

So, what went wrong for Manika Batra at the Commonwealth Games 2022?

For Manika, a Malaysian in the form of Karen Lyne turned out to be an Achilles heel that she couldn't figure out timely, handing her two harsh defeats at least at the Games.

First, in the women's team quarters, Batra, the most experienced on the squad, was unable to find a way out as Lyne could decode Batra's game with the long pip rubber, making it difficult for her to defeat her as she lost a crucial match 3-0 in the tie, which indirectly cost India a chance at a medal in the women's team event.

In the mixed doubles, the World No. 6 pair of Batra and Gnanasekaran was up against the Malaysian duo of Karen Lyne and Javen Choong and despite both of them playing their hearts out, a lot of glaring errors turned up for them, causing the 2018 CWG mixed doubles bronze medallists to lose the clash, 2-3.

In the women's singles quarters, a higher-ranked Batra was up against Singapore's Jian Zeng, the current World No. 60 who is enjoying a good streak of late. Taking place after her Mixed Doubles loss and the fatigue of a long day and an extremely sharp and strong Zeng who attacked away - Batra's game once again faltered, her go-to shots not really landing on the board. Zeng played an attacking game from the get-go and was able to figure out how to handle the Batra rubber which made it difficult for the World No. 41 paddler from India, handing her a crushing loss 4-0, in the quarters itself.

Attracting quite the flak after her losses, Manika Batra's performance at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 has turned out to be highly unexpected from the usual especially given how weak the competition field generally is for the table tennis competition, more so in the women's.

Was the pressure too much for her to handle? Was the drama leading up to the event - with a mess surrounding the CoA selections, and a lot of trouble regarding the Federation, did all of that factor in for Batra and cause such results? Too many questions unfortunately have popped up now.

As soon as she lost, Twitter has taken to debating how disappointing Batra's run has been at the Games so far, we take a look at some here.

Here's what people have to say about Manika Batra's losses:

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While we know sport is cruel, we hope Manika Batra can find it in her to reignite that spark and keep her medal chances alive in the women's doubles now with Diya Chitale - otherwise, the Golden Girl from the 2018 Gold Coast Games will indeed return empty-handed from the Games that contributed a lot in making her who she is.

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