The name Manika Batra is enough to learn about her life! One of the finest table tennis players, not only in the country but also in the whole world, Manika has mesmerized everyone with her excellent skills. While knowing about her, you must also note that Manika Batra, as of November 2020, stands as the leading female table tennis player in India. Also, she is the 63rd best-playing female in the world. Now, isn’t that amazing!
Childhood & Early Life
Born on June 15, 1995, in Delhi, Manika was the youngest one in the family. Her elder sister and brother also played table tennis. At very early age she started playing. At the age of 4, Manika held the tennis bat in her hand for the first time and never let go of it ever since. At first, she used to learn to play the game from her sister Anchal. But, when she performed really well in a state-level under-8 tournament, Manika began training under Coach Sandeep Gupta and also joined his academy Hansa Raj Model School.
Her impressive personality and amazing fitness brought several modelling offers for Manika. However, she was more interested in the game and put all her efforts and dedication into it and turned down those offers without any regret. When she was 16, she received a scholarship for training at the Peter Karlson Academy in Sweden which again, Manika declined. For a year, she studied at Jesus and Mary College but dropped out to focus on table tennis.
Nothing could break Manika Batra’s focus for she has always been determined to do what she really wanted to. In the under-21 category of Chile Open in 2011, she won the silver medal making the whole nation proud. And that was just the beginning of Manika’s glorious journey. Manika represented India at the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow. She became the quarter-finalist there. In the 2014 Asian Games also Manika played in the quarter-finals. At the 2015 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, she won three medals; two silvers in the women’s team event and women’s doubles event and a bronze in the women’s singles event.
Again in the 2016 South Asian Games, Manika Batra shone as a star player winning three gold medals. She eased in the women’s doubles event, mixed doubles event, and women’s team event. Furthermore, she qualified for the women’s singles event in the 2016 Summer Olympics as Manika Batra won the qualification tournament in 2016 in the South Asia group. But, unfortunately, she lost in the first round of the women’s individual event.
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Manika brought a gold medal in the finals by giving a brilliant performance. This win became history in the Commonwealth Games as the Singapore women’s table tennis team had never lost since table tennis was included in the games in 2002. The victory brought Manika Batra under the brightest limelight. In addition, she won India’s maiden silver medal along with Mouma Das in the women’s doubles category. In this tournament, Manika became the first-ever Indian woman to win a Commonwealth table tennis individual gold medal by defeating Yu Mengyu, who played for Singapore.
Manika Batra made history again by receiving “The Breakthrough Star Award” by ITTF on December 12, 2018. She is the only Indian to win such a prestigious award!
Manika went to play the Qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But she lost in the quarter-final to France. Well, this defeat could not move her focus as Manika continues to prepare herself for the coming games.
From being a child who dreamt of playing table tennis to becoming one of the top table tennis players in the world, Manika Batra has lived a journey worth admiring. Her dedication and determination have become an inspiration to all those players who are spending blood, sweat, tears every day in order to achieve success.