Indian Sports highlights, May 6: India’s relay teams qualify for Olympics; Batra stuns world no.2 Wang Manyu

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Welcome to ESPN India’s daily blog, where we aim to bring you all the news from the dynamic world of Indian sports: from the wide variety of Olympic sports to franchise leagues.

May has plenty of sporting action taking place – which you can find listed out in ESPN India’s sporting calendar.


Table-tennis: Manika Batra stuns WR2 Wang Manyu in Saudi Smash

Manika Batra pulled off an almighty upset at the Saudi Smash in Jeddah, defeating world no. 2 Wang Manyu of China to progress to the round of 16. Prior to this week, Batra had never won a match in the main draw of a Smash event in the World Table Tennis Tour, but fashioned a 6-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10 win over her much-fancied opponent in the round-of-32.

Wang, fresh off her win at the Singapore Smash in March, looked all set to make it six wins from six over Batra, taking the opening game 11-6. However, Batra displayed aggression to take games two and three, turning the tie on it’s head. Wang then lead 4-0 in the fourth game, before Batra reeled off point after point to lead 8-5. The seesaw contest then saw Wang take the next five points to lead 10-8, only for Batra to save the next two points and then go for the win with aggressive strokeplay, winning 12-10 and causing quite the shock.

Batra next faces world no.14 Nina Mittelham of Germany for a spot in the quarterfinal.

“Today was the biggest achievement of my singles career as I beat world #2 Wang Manyu. I have been working hard in my training sessions with my coach, Aman Balgu along with my practice partner and trainers and my hard work paid off. I am very happy because it wasn’t just a day’s hard work because it takes days, months and years of hard work to achieve such results. I want to thank everyone who was there for me, cheered me and supported me. I fought for every ball in the game and I’ll keep that fighting spirit up in the next match and coming tournaments as well,” said Batra after her win.


India’s men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams qualify for Paris Olympics

A fantastic start to the day for Indian athletics as the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams have qualified for the Paris Olympics, at the World Relays competition in Bahamas. The Indian teams made the cut in the second round of qualifications after initially missing out in their first attempt yesterday.

The Indian men’s 4x400m team saw a change in personnel as Arokia Rajiv came in for the injured Rajesh Ramesh. Muhammed Anas Yahiya ran the opening leg, while Arokia was the second runner followed by Muhammed Ajmal running the bend and Amoj Jacob donning the role of the anchor. The Indians clocked a season’s best of 3:03.23s to finish second their heat, behind United States, and achieve qualification for the Paris Olympics

The women’s quartet of Rupal, Jyothika Sri Dandi, Poovamma Raju and Subha Venkatesan ran 3:29:35s to finish second in their heat, behind Jamaica, to assure themselves of a berth at the Paris Games. Rupal got off to a decent start and Jyothika turned the tide in India’s favour with a blistering 51.36s to move into second position. Poovamma ran a 52.35s lap to ensure India remained in contention and Subha wrapped it up with a brilliant 51.65s lap to seal the Indian women’s team’s qualification for the Olympics.


What’s on today?

  • Athletics: Round of Olympic qualifications are underway at the World Relays.

  • ISL: More reaction copies after the completion of the ISL season.

  • IPL: Mumbai Indians take on Sunrisers Hyderabad.


What happened yesterday?

  • Wrestling: Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia has been provisionally suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency.

  • Athletics: India’s 4x400m relay teams miss out on round 1 of Olympic qualifiers.

You can read the details of yesterday’s events here.



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