Tokyo Olympics: Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan get first-round byes; Manika Batra to face Tin-Tin Ho in opener

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Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal will face Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun Ju and Cheng I Ching in Tokyo Olympics mixed doubles opener

Tokyo: India’s mixed doubles pair of Manika Batra and Achanta Sharath Kamal will begin their Tokyo Olympics campaign against Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun Ju and Cheng I Ching on July 24, the organizers announced the draws on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee will kick-off start their women’s singles campaigns against Tin-Tin Ho (Great Britain) and Swede Linda Bergstroem respectively in Round 1. On the other hand, Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan have been placed directly in Round 2 in the men’s singles category after getting a bye in the first round.

While Sathiyan will play his first Olympics tie against the winner between Brian Afanador (Puerto Rico) and Lam Sui Hung (Hong Kong), Sharath Kamal will be up against either Portuguese Tiago Apolónia or Nigerian Olajide Omotayo. Both the matches are on July 25.

Batra, who is India’s best-ranked women’s singles player at Tokyo Olympics, might face Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska, a former European Championships silver medallist in the next round. For Mukherjee, her next possible opponent might be Portugal’s Yu Fu.

Meanwhile, chances are high, that Sharath Kamal might face reigning Olympic champion and second seed Ma Long of China in the third round. Sathiyan, who had earlier wished to beat local favourite Tomokazu Harimoto in Tokyo, also is in line to see his dream come true in Round 3.

With just 16 teams vying for an elusive medal in the mixed doubles, the Indian duo of Sharath Kamal and Batra need to win just three matches to confirm them a medal. Sharath Kamal and Batra are also India’s first Olympics mixed doubles pair.

Batra’s first-round opponent Tin-Tin Ho is the first English woman in 25 years to qualify for an Olympics table tennis singles event. All the matches will be played at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

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