Podcast: Manika Batra Recalls Women’s Team Gold at CWG 2018
Table tennis player Manika Batra recalls India’s remarkable victory over Singapore in the women’s team event final at the Commonwealth Games 2018.
The Indian women’s team became the first-ever side to defeat Singapore in a table tennis final at the Commonwealth Games. The 23-year-old Manika Batra went on to win a medal in each of her events in the tournament - women’s team (gold), women’s singles (gold), women’s doubles (silver) and mixed doubles (bronze).
“I didn't have any expectations, but I had a dream to win a medal. Before going for the tournament, I used to discuss with my mother how we would feel if I won a medal at the Commonwealth Games. I thought that if I win a gold medal, then it would be a very good achievement,” said Batra.
In the team event final, Manika, ranked 58th at that time, was up against world number 4 Tianwei Feng in the singles match. Manika decided to consider her just like any other player.
In the women’s team event final, I played against Tianwei Feng in the first match itself. I didn’t know she was the world number 4 because I didn’t check her rank before the match. So, I went to the table and thought that she’s also a player and I’m also a player. So, I gave my 100 percent. I was down in a lot of games, but then I managed to make a comeback. After I won, I felt good. But I didn’t express myself fully, because I also had to play my singles match.Manika Batra
Manika Batra beat Zhou Yihan in the reverse singles match and helped India win the women’s team event final 3-1.
“I calmed myself down and got ready for my next match. I was shocked that I had beaten the world number 4. I started getting calls from home, with my family asking about my match against her. But I usually don’t get too excited, so I kept all my emotions inside and got ready for my next match,” added Batra.
What are the things that go through the mind of an athlete after she wins a gold medal? Manika gave us a sneak peek.
One time, my coach and I were coming back from a tournament. My coach showed me some posters at the airport. He said if you win a medal at Commonwealth Games and make the country proud, then I want your poster here as well. So, this is what came to my mind after I won. I remembered all the sacrifices my mother had made for me as well.Manika Batra
Manika went on to become the first Indian woman to win a table tennis gold in a singles event. Upon her return at the Delhi airport, Manika experienced something for the first time in her career – crazy fame!
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