Tokyo Olympics table tennis: Sharath Kamal in line to face reigning champion Ma Long in Round 3

India’s Achanta Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan received first-round byes while Manika Batra will open vs English woman Tin-Tin Ho.

By Utathya Nag

Indian table tennis star Manika Batra will begin her Tokyo Olympics campaign against Great Britain’s Tin-Tin Ho while her women’s singles compatriot Sutirtha Mukherjee has been drawn against Sweden’s Linda Bergstrom in her opening match.

Seeded 34th, Manika Batra is India’s best-ranked women’s singles player at Tokyo 2020. Sutirtha Mukherjee is seeded 52nd.

If Manika Batra wins her first-round match, she will face Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska, a former European Championships silver medallist, next. Sutirtha Mukherjee’s next possible opponent is Portugal’s Yu Fu.

Manika Batra’s first-round opponent Tin-Tin Ho is the first English woman in 25 years to qualify for an Olympics table tennis singles event.

In the men’s draw, Sharath Kamal (seeded 20th) and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (seeded 26th) - got byes in the first round courtesy their seedings.

Sharath Kamal will face the winner of the first-round match between Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia and Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo in Round 2. G Sathiyan’s second round opponent will be either Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador or Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang.

However, if Sharath Kamal gets past his second round hurdle, he will come up against reigning Olympic champion and second seed Ma Long of China in the third round. For G Satiyan, Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the third seed, lies in wait.

At Tokyo 2020, the top 16 seeds in both men’s and women’s singles table tennis receive a bye through to the third round while the next 16 seeds start from the second round.

The mixed doubles and the two team events, each featuring 16 teams, will be played as direct knockout single-elimination tournaments with no byes.

While India won’t have representatives in either of the men’s and women’s team events, Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal will team up for the mixed doubles, which makes its Olympics debut at Tokyo.

The Indian duo is seeded 12th in the 16-team field and has been drawn against the Chinese Taipei team of Lin Yun-ju and Cheng I-Ching, the third seeds, for their opening match.

Table tennis matches at Tokyo 2020 will be held from 24 July to 6 August at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Indian table tennis draw for Tokyo Olympics

Men’s singles Round 2

Achanta Sharath Kamal vs Tiago Apolonia/Olajide Omotayo

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran vs Brian Afanador/Lam Siu Hang

Women’s singles Round 1

Manika Batra vs Tin-Tin Ho

Sutirtha Mukherjee vs Linda Bergstrom

Mixed doubles Round 1

Achanta Sharath Kamal/Manika Batra vs Lin Yun-ju/Cheng I-Ching