Top table tennis players across the globe, including India’s Manika Batra, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sharath Kamal, will be in action at the WTT Grand Smash Singapore 2022, which will be held from March 7 to 20 at the Singapore Sports Hub.
As per the new tournament format implemented by World Table Tennis (WTT), the Grand Smashes, starting from this year, are the highest-tier events in the annual calendar – similar to Grand Slams in tennis.
A total of four Grand Smashes will be held every year in different cities. Singapore has been chosen to host the inaugural Grand Smash.
The Singapore Smash 2022 will see top names, including world No. 1 Fan Zhendong and Sun Yingsha, Olympic champions Ma Long and Chen Meng, and other aces like Japan’s Mima Ito, vie for the medals on offer.
The Indian table tennis challenge will be represented by an 11-member contingent – five men and six women.
In the men’s singles main draw, world No. 33 Sathiyan Gnanasekaran will be joined by world No. 34 Sharath Kamal, who is returning after surgery. The two top-ranked Indian table tennis players will also pair up in the men’s doubles competition.
Olympian Anthony Amalraj, Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar, meanwhile, start from the qualifiers.
Manav Thakkar, in particular, will be high in confidence after winning the mixed doubles silver with Archana Kamath at the WTT Contender in Muscat earlier this week.
Kamath is also in the qualifiers of women’s singles alongside Tokyo Olympian Sutirtha Mukherjee, Ayhika Mukherjee, Sreeja Akula and youngster Madhurika Patkar. The Mukherjees clinched the women’s doubles silver at Muscat while Akula was a bronze medallist.
Manika Batra, the world No. 49, is India’s only direct entry in the women’s singles main draw. Batra will also be partnering Archana Kamath and G Stahiyan in women’s and mixed doubles, respectively.
Only the singles events have qualifiers that run till March 9. The main draw matches will begin from March 11.
WTT Grand Smash Singapore 2022: Indian table tennis squad
Main draw - Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Achanta Sharath Kamal
Qualifiers - Harmeet Desai, Anthony Amalraj, Manav Thakkar
Main draw - Manika Batra
Qualifiers - Archana Kamath, Suthirtha Mukherjee, Sreeja Akula, Ayhika Mukherjee, Madhurika Patkar
Main draw - Sathiyan Gnanasekaran/Sharath Kamal
Main draw - Manika Batra/Archana Kamath
Main draw - Sathiyan Gnanasekaran/Manika Batra