Table Tennis Olympic Qualification: Sathiyan G, Manika Batra in action — Schedule, Groups, Live Streaming, When & Where To Watch
India's top table tennis players will be vying for Tokyo Olympics spots at the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament.
India's top table tennis players Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sutirtha Mukherjee will be vying for Tokyo Olympics spots at the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament (AOQT) in Doha, Qatar starting Thursday.
The tournament at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena will see Sathiyan and Sharath trying their bests to seek berth following their disappointing outing at the World Qualifiers earlier this week. Manika Batra who is riding in a good form is expected to win the Tokyo cut.
Qualification procedure and India's chances at the AOQT
The Asian Olympic Qualification Table Tennis Tournament carries Tokyo 2020 berths in the singles and mixed doubles events. In both men's and women's singles events, there will be six qualification spots, respectively.
The players in the draw will be based on a regional basis - Southeast Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. The group encounter will happen in a round-robin format from where the winner from each group will qualify for Tokyo Olympics. Indian paddlers have to compete only with other South Asian countries for a quota. And as it turns out, in women's singles, only 2 entries have been received from South Asia, from Manika and Sutirtha!! Thus, India is already assured of 1 WS quota as it will go to one of these 2 ladies. Even on the men's side, there are only 3 entries from South Asia – Sharath, Sathiyan and Muhammad Rameez from Pakistan (WR 695). They are scheduled to play a single round-robin with the winner advancing to Tokyo.
The runner-up in each group will be on the reserves list. Once the five group winners are announced, the sixth spot will be given to the highest-ranked player in the reserves list, to be decided according to the ITTF Olympic Qualification Ranking Lists in April.
Currently, in the corresponding March Ranking Lists, Sharath and Sathiyan are both the highest-ranked players entered into the AOQT, whereas Manika and Sutirtha are the 2nd and 4th highest ranked players entered, with Thailand's Suthasini Sawettabut and Orawan Paranang in 1st and 3rd spots respectively.
Thus, even if the Indians finish runners-up (which is guaranteed in the women's section as there are only 2 entries, while the men's section has 3 entries), they have a great chance to earn that final quota on the basis of their rankings.
In the mixed doubles, there is only one Tokyo spot up for grabs, which will be decided by the winner of a knockout tournament, with the runners-up being the reserve pair.
India's schedule at AOQT
Thursday, March 18
South Asia Men's Singles Round 1 - 12:30 PM IST
South Asia Men's Singles Round 2 - 5:00 PM IST
Mixed Doubles Quarter-Final - 8:00 PM IST
South Asia Women's Singles Final: Manika Batra vs Sutirtha Mukherjee - 10:00 PM IST
South Asia Men's Singles Final - 10:40 PM IST
Friday, March 19
Mixed Doubles Semi-Final - 6:45 PM IST
Saturday, March 20
Mixed Doubles Final - 12:30 PM IST
Lead photo: ITTF
Where to watch
The matches won't be broadcasted anywhere on television, you can watch the matches at the TTFI website.