National women’s table tennis champion Sreeja Akula has also been included while Olympian Sutirtha Mukherjee failed to make the women’s provisional squad.
Tokyo Olympians Manika Batra, Sharath Kamal and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan were selected in the Indian table tennis team for the Commonwealth Games 2022 to be held in Birmingham, UK from July 28 to August 8.
Sreeja Akula, who won the women’s singles crown at the national championships in April, was also included in the Indian team.
Tokyo Olympian Sutirtha Mukherjee, part of the Commonwealth Games 2018 gold medal-winning team, failed to make the eight-member squad.
The Indian table tennis team was selected by the Committee of Administrators (CoA), which is temporarily managing the sport in the country, after a week-long national camp in Bengaluru concluded on Monday.
Manika Batra, world No. 39, is India’s top-ranked women’s table tennis player followed by Archana Kamath (world No. 66), Sreeja Akula (world No. 69) and Reeth Rishya (world No. 100).
Gnanasekaran Sathiyan (world No. 34) and 10-time national champion Sharath Kamal (world No. 38) are top Indian men’s table tennis players. Harmeet Desai (world No. 124) and Sanil Shetty (world No. 210) complete the rest of the men’s team.
Manush Shah (world No. 98) and youngster Diya Chitale, meanwhile, were included among the reserves.
The four-member Indian men’s team ticked the existing selection criteria, which also considers domestic rankings, and got all clearance. The women’s team, meanwhile, awaits the final review from the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
"Under the existing selection criteria, one of the members (Archana Kamath) falls outside the top four (domestic rankings). The selection committee is convinced that the existing guidelines are flawed." S D Mudgil, CoA representative and chairperson of the selection committee told PTI.
"However, Archana Kamath is one half of the doubles pair (Manika Batra being the other) that is ranked No. 4 in the world and which will be the top seeds at the Commonwealth Games. Therefore, the selection committee feels that this is a case worthy of consideration by SAI,” the CoA representative reasoned.
At the Commonwealth Games 2022, each country can field a maximum of three entries in the men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles. Two pairs of men’s and women’s doubles each will be allowed.
India had won all the team events at the last edition of the Commonwealth Games and returned with a medal haul of three gold, two silver and three bronze medals.
Men: Sharath Kamal, Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, Sanil Shetty, Harmeet Desai. Reserve: Manush Shah
Women: Manika Batra, Archana Kamath, Sreeja Akula, Reeth Rishya. Reserve: Diya Chitale
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