Road to Paris: Sathiyan & Manika gears up for the TT Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualifiers

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Table Tennis action moves to Havirov, as the Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualifier is set to begin from 11 April in Havirov,Czech Republic.


The tournament will provide a final opportunity for Mixed doubles pairs to seal their tickets for Paris.

Twenty Six pairs from around the world will be in contention for four Olympic quotas.

Top Indian pair of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran/ Manika Batra are set to compete at the event in a last ditch attempt to try and qualify themselves for the Paris Olympics.

Courtesy TOI

Sathiyan/Manika hasn’t exactly had the best of results this year. A series of poor results,early exits and lacklustre performances at times led to them slipping to world rank 26,down from a high WR 11,a big loss of 15 spots.

This was a huge setback for them in their bid to qualify through the Rankings route.Their only hope for qualification now is through the World Mixed Doubles Qualification tournament starting today.

Courtesy Olympics.com

Qualification in the mixed doubles event holds significance for both, as it will guarantee them a spot in the national squad for the Olympics.For Sathiyan,it holds even more importance as he is currently not in a very comfortable position for a place in the Men’s team for Paris,largely owing to the tough internal competition between him and compatriots Sharath,Harmeet and Manav.

Each team can contain a maximum of three members, which means anyone of them will have to miss out.For Manika the situation is not as tight,and things look more or less settled.


Mixed doubles at the Olympics has a separate qualification process, which means team qualification doesn’t ensure a mixed doubles quota for a country. A total of 16 qualification spots are up for grabs in the mixed doubles category.

Courtesy Scroll

Out of these 16 quotas,6 have already been allocated through continental qualification tournaments and 1 quota goes to the host country.

Of the remaining ones,4 quotas will be allocated through the world qualification tournament and 5 quotas will be allocated to the highest ranked eligible pairs listed in the Olympics rankings on May 7.


The format of the Qualification tournament by nature is a very forgiving one,as pairs will be getting two qualification opportunities instead of one.The tournament has been divided into two Stages,with pairs failing to qualify from the first stage,will get another chance to qualify through the second stage.

Stage one will comprise of two Knockout draws(KO1 & KO2) with the winners of both i.e. two pairs will automatically qualify for Paris.Rest of  Pairs will again compete in Stage 2 which again will comprise of 2 knockout draws(KO3 & KO4).Two pairs will Qualify from stage two.So a total of four pairs will qualify from this tournament.


Top pairs from Korea,Japan and Chinese Taipei have reportedly withdrawn from the tournament while the Chinese pair didn’t provide an entry.These pairs will be looking to secure their places through the world rankings.

So with their absence,the level of competition at the tournament will not be as high as one would have expected it to be. 

The absence of the top pairs should definitely make Sathiyan/Manika’s job a little bit easier,though it wouldn’t be a cakewalk by any means.

They will definitely look to capitalize on this opportunity and qualify for the Paris Olympics.It’s is the only option left for them, as the rankings route is more or less closed.


In stage 1,Sathiyan/Manika have been seeded 8th, and are placed in the Knockout Draw 1(KO1). Spanish Pair Robles/Xiao and Hungarian Pair Ecseki/Madarasz are the highest ranked pairs in their half.

Courtesy ITTF

Sathiyan/Manika will face WR 201 Greek pair in the 1st round. While the first round is comparatively easier, the second round is bound to be much trickier with either North Korean or Slovakian pair as potential opponents. This can be tough as Sathiyan/Manika had lost to the same Slovak pair in a feeder event last week,and North korean opponents particularly are always unpredictable.

In all probability, It would be a challenging task for Sathiyan/Manika to qualify through the first stage,their best shot would be at the second stage,scheduled for the next day.

As Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra gear up for the last mixed doubles Olympic Qualification tournament, the anticipation and excitement among the fans are palpable.

Hope they bring their A Game to the table and secures a Paris Olympic Quota for India.


Stage 1- 11 April

Stage 2-12 April

Live Streaming of the event will be available at Olympics.com official website.

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