Indian table tennis star Manika Batra on Monday said that she wants to position herself under the top 30 in order to qualify for the Olympics directly.
In an interview to ANI, the Commonwealth gold medallist said: “Everyone dreams about Olympic gold, so do I. But I will move step by step. I have to improve my rankings in the forthcoming international tournaments next year. I will try to position myself under top 30 so that I can qualify for Olympics directly.”
Talking about her training for the Olympics, Manika stated that she is working on her fitness and trying to learn new techniques so that she can be quick in her game.
“After the Asian Games I have already started my training for the Olympics and it is going really well. I think overseas players now know about my game so I will have to change my playing style. I want to do something different and for that, I am training. I am working on my fitness because I have to defeat other Asians, so I have to be very quick. I am working hard for 2019,” she said.
Manika, who won the ‘Breakthrough Table Tennis Star’ award at the prestigious International Table Tennis Federation (ITFF) Star Awards held earlier this month, which no one in Indian history have won it, also lauded the government schemes and the support from the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
“The government is providing brilliant support to every player including those who cannot afford. It motivates players as well to do better. In India, the game transformed after Commonwealth Games. It didn’t happen only from our side but also from the government’s side. Especially our sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who has been a sports person. So he knows what an athlete needs,” Manika said.
When asked about her achievements this year, Manika cheerfully said: “The year 2018 has been very important for me. I won many tournaments this year. It all started with the nationals and zone level. After that, in the Common Wealth Games, I bagged two gold medals, which no one had ever won in the history of table tennis. We also beat Singapore in the team event, which never happened before.”