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Table Tennis

Realized how much we have to improve: Archana-Manav admit after silver win at WTT Muscat

Sans too much practice and playing in the senior leagues now, young paddlers Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar bagged the silver medal at WTT Contender Muscat.

Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar bagged the silver in the Mixed Doubles event at the WTT Contender Oman

Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar in the final of WTT Feeder Beirut (Source: WTT)


Sohinee Basu

Updated: 5 March 2022 4:37 AM GMT

Making quiet but big ripples in Indian table tennis for quite some time now, both Archana Kamath and her Mixed Doubles partner, Manav Thakkar are budding forces to reckon with which they proved once again at the WTT Contender Muscat, Oman where they bagged the silver medal.

Losing out to the Chinese pair of Wang Chuquin and Chen Xingtong in straight games (11-3, 11-3, 11-6), the World No. 32 Indian pair of Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar took home the silver after the match provided them with a lot of eye-opening moments about their current form.

Speaking to The Bridge after the merry silver win, the 21-year-old Archana Kamath, who is a product of the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence is not one to be absolutely content with the victory and confessed, "The Chinese today were an exceptionally strong pair with a very aggressive style. We will need to get a lot better as a pair and I'm looking forward to that," the Bangalore-born paddler mentioned.

Archana Kamath (left), Subhajit Saha (Indian team coach) and Manav Thakkar with the trophies after the win (Source: Archana Kamath)

Not having had too much practice before the 2022 season and the back-to-back tournaments tour began, Archana and Manav had an impressive run at the WTT Muscat event where they defeated the World No. 17 pair of Vitor Ishiy-Bruna Takahashi in the quarters, the pair of Nandor Ecseki-Imre Leila to book their final spot against the Chinese.

But the Indian pair are not getting carried away with the silver win but remains aware of what more needs to be done to raise their level.

"Manav and I have participated in the same tournaments for quite some time now. And even in mixed doubles, we have played together as Juniors too. I am extremely comfortable and thoroughly enjoy playing alongside him," Archana mentioned, heaping praises on her Gujarat-born partner, who is coached by Joze Urh.

READ | Archana and Sreeja overcome 'fear factor' to shine at Asian Table Tennis C'Ships

Into the senior leagues

Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar (Source: ITTF World/Flickr)

Archana, who went till the Round of 16 in both the Women's Singles and Women's Doubles event where she pairs with Manika Batra, admitted the challenges awaiting to be conquered in Mixed Doubles.

"Mixed doubles, especially now in the senior category is very challenging and I think we are in the process of slowly understanding each other's game now," Kamath, who is coached by Brett Clarke explained.

"I had a lot of fun playing with Manav in this tournament while realising how much scope we have to improve as a pair," she humbly put.

A packed schedule lies ahead for Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar in any case with the Singapore Grand Smash starting soon, followed by a couple of tournaments in Doha and the duo who are in the big leagues now are eager to work hard and do better.

Focussed on upgrading the medal colour from silver to gold soon, Archana is critical of herself too and said, "I also feel like I need to improve my own game which will help us...but generally in terms of co-ordinating each other's game, we need to work on a lot of things," she admitted and expressed her gratitude for her Strength and Conditioning coach, Swachand Astekar and her Sports Psychologist, Shaantanu Kulkarni.

Supported by the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, OGQ and TOPS, both Archana and Manav with foreign coaches by their side are ready to make it big on the table tennis stage and they are just about getting started, transitioning impressively from the junior to the senior stages.

The WTT Contender Muscat has been a decent outing for the Indian paddlers as so far they have one silver to boast of and the pair of Ayhika Mukherjee-Sutirtha Mukherjee have also guaranteed another silver, at least, from the event by making it to the finals of the Women's Doubles event.

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