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How Indian Table Tennis Teams Can Still Qualify For Paris Olympic Games 2024 - Explainer

India women's table tennis team lost 1-3 to Chinese Taipei in the round of 16 while the men were blown away by South Korea for the second time in the competition, losing 0-3. Despite this, they have a good score that could secure them a berth at the Paris Olympics, according to the Table Tennis Federation of India

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India Women's Table Tennis Team at the World Table Tennis Championships 2024, Busan. (Photo: X|@India_AllSports)
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The Indian men's and women's teams came up short in the pre-quarterfinals of the World Table Tennis Championships here on Wednesday but their performance, in all likelihood, will be enough to send them to the Paris Olympics. (More Table Tennis News)

The Manika Batra-led women's team lost 1-3 to Chinese Taipei in the round of 16 while the men were blown away by South Korea for the second time in the competition, losing 0-3.

The event offered Olympic quotas to the quarterfinalists but the men and women from India are likely to make the cut through their world rankings.

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The final announcement will be made on March 5 after including the points from the World Championships.

The women's team is currently ranked 17th and the men 15th.

"In all likelihood, the men and women have qualified for the Olympics but we will have to wait till March for official announcement," said a Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) official.

In the women's pre-quarterfinal, Manika put India ahead with a tense 11-8, 8-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9 win over Taipei's Chen Szu-Yu.

Sreeja Akula was blanked by world number 10 Cheng I-Ching 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 in the second singles before Ayhika Mukherjee failed to match the power of Li Yu-Jhun, losing 10-12, 13-15, 11-9, 2-11.

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In her second singles, the 36th ranked Manika tried her best against Cheng, an opponent she stunned last year, but on this occasion the world number 10 came well prepared to take on the Indian who uses the long pimpled rubber on the backhand. Manika lost 10-12, 11-5, 9-11, 5-11.

The Indian men's team could not do much against the might of Koreans. Harmeet Desai and Sharath Kamal managed to take a game off Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon respectively before G Sathiyan was blanked by Lee Sang Su.

Earlier on Wednesday, Harmeet Desai won the decisive fifth rubber against Kazakhsthan to steer the Indian men's team to pre-quarterfinals while the women's side strolled into the last-16 stage with an easy 3-0 victory over Italy.

Harmeet lost the opening match to Kirill Gerassimenko 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 before senior teammate and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sharath Kamal brought India on level terms with a come-from-behind victory over Alan Kurmangaliyev.

The age-defying 41-year-old Sharath dug deep into his reserves after being two games down to turn the tide against his Kazakh opponent.

Sharath finally won 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-9.

G. Sathiyan then gave India a 2-1 lead after a minor lapse of concentration in the second game, finally notching up an easy 3-1 victory.

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The two-time CWG gold medallist in team event, Sathiyan won the opening game 11-6 but lost the next game tamely 5-11. He recovered from the lapse to win the last two game 11-2, 11-7, giving his opponent absolutely no chance, as his top spin earned him the maximum points.

Sharath though lost his second singles match to Gerassimenko 4-11, 9-11, 11-6, 7-11) as Kazakhstan levelled the scores.

Harmeet did not show any signs of nerves in the decider and won 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7.

In the women's section, Sreeja defeated Nikoleta Stefanova 12-10, 11-6, 11-8, while Manika Batra crushed Giorgia Piccolin 12-10, 11-6, 11-5.

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Ayhika sealed the tie with a 15-13, 11-9, 13-15, 11-8 win over Gaia Monfardini.

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