KOLKATA: India’s top four paddlers will give their best shot to claim qualifications for the Tokyo Olympics at the World Singles Qualification Tournament that gets underway at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday. Four spots for men and five for women will be up for grabs in this tournament.
India will be represented by world No. 63 Manika Batra and world No. 96 Sutirtha Mukherjee in the women’s competition while world No. 32 Achanta Sharath Kamal and world No. 38 Sathiyan Gnanasekaran will lock horns in the men’s competition.
Although most of the top players in the world have already booked their berths for the Tokyo Games, the Doha event could still prove to be tricky for the Indians, who will try to put the disappointment of recently-held World Table Tennis Star Contender series behind, with 73 and 60 entries in men’s and women’s categories.
In the men’s singles qualification, the winners of three knockout rounds will qualify in stage one. The losing finalist and semifinalist from each of the three knockouts will then be drawn into one final knockout round where the winner will qualify for the singles event at the Tokyo Olympics.
In the women’s category, winners of four knockouts will book tickets to Tokyo while the losing finalist from each of the four knockouts will fight out for one the remaining spot at stake.
In January 2020, the India’s men’s and women’s teams crashed out of the qualification tournament and hence will look for individual Olympic berths now.
However, if the players fail at Doha, they will get another chance in the Asian Olympic qualification tournament from March 18-20.