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Manika to the ‘four’; India emerge as top TT nation for first time

Mumbai :Manika Batra’s sensational run at the Commonwealth Games culminated with a fourth medal in as many events while India emerged as the best table tennis nation with a record eight medals including three gold medals.

Batra teamed up with G Sathiyan to collect the mixed doubles bronze, beating compatriots Sharath Kamal and Mouma Das 11-6, 11-2, 11-4 to claim the honours in the play-off.

This was Batra’s fourth medal of the Games. She had earlier won a historic women’s singles gold and was also a part of the top-finishing women’s team. In women’s doubles, she won a silver with Mouma Das.

Meanwhile, Kamal clinched his third medal of the Games by winning a bronze in men’s singles beating Samuel Walker of England 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10.

He was part of the gold-winning men’s team event and also clinched a silver in men’s doubles with Sathiyan.

Overall, a 10-member Indian table tennis team secured eight medals — three gold, two silver and three bronze — medals in the Games, its best ever showing in the quadrennial event. India finished at the top of the rankings for the first time, leaving behind old rivals Singapore and England.

The performance more than made up for the disappointment in Glasgow four years ago when India ended with only a silver. Prior to the Gold Coast Games, India’s best effort came in Delhi eight years ago when they won five medals including a doubles gold.

The undisputed star of the contingent was Batra who first led to India to a historic team gold before becoming the first women’s singles gold medallist from her country. The 22-year-old made heads turn with her exemplary run which included back-to-back wins against World No. 4 and Olympic medallist Feng Tianwei of Singapore.