Why Cristiano Ronaldo videos inspire Manika Batra

The Indian table tennis star, a fan of the Portuguese superstar footballer, says the videos help her to improve body language.

By Subhayan Dutta

Ace Indian table tennis player and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra has revealed that she watches Cristiano Ronaldo’s videos to motivate her before matches.

The Portuguese international footballer, who has won the Ballon d'Or five times, is still at the top of his game even at the age of 35.

It’s no wonder why Manika Batra, a fan of the Juventus skipper, considers Ronaldo as a source of inspiration.

“I watch videos of Cristiano Ronaldo and motivational speeches before stepping onto the court,” Manika Batra said during an interactive session at Fit India Talks.

“Actually, I love Ronaldo. I get a kick from it when I am on the court,” the table tennis player added

From becoming India’s first woman to clinch a table tennis individual gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 to see a dip in her ITTF rankings in August last year, Manika Batra knows a thing or two about setbacks.

And like Cristiano Ronaldo, the Indian table tennis player believes in maintaining a strong posture, both physically and mentally, to keep performing at the highest level.

Manika Batra is the first Indian woman to win a singles gold at the Commonwealth Games

“We need to keep a good body language, so the opponent does not feel you are nervous,” Manika Batra reckoned.

“We should always keep strong and believe that we can make a comeback. I learnt that you need to keep your body language aggressive on the court, so the opponent sees that I am strong.

“I am not at all aggressive off court,” Manika, an Asian Games bronze medallist, added.

Changing gears in Pune

It was last year when Manika Batra decided to end her 15-year-long association with childhood coach Sandeep Gupta to move to Pune.

The Delhi table tennis player, who had been under Gupta’s tutelage since she was eight, now trains in Pune’s Punjabi Bagh with coach Sanmay Paranjape.

The decision has been bearing fruits for the Indian TT star, who trains with senior players and boys in Pune to keep herself sharp.

“When I was young, I used to play with the elders. Now in Pune, I play with boys,” Manika Batra said.

“Since the beginning, I loved to beat the boys and seniors. The boys that I am currently training with are very important for me because they have a good game, similar to the international level.

“So, I train with them to prove myself internationally as well,” the 25-year-old Manika added.