Indian women paddlers clinched their maiden title in the Super Eights of the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship on Friday. Backed by stars like Manika Batra and Madhurika Patkar, the team defeated England in the finals to repeat their last year’s team championship double-gold medal feat.

The women paddlers beat England 3-0 in a dominating contest to win a historic first gold for India in the tournament’s 48-year history. They dethroned the defending champions who have been winning the trophy since 1997. They won the Cup for eight consecutive times, but Indian team conquered it this time

Indian men paddlers too defended their crown beating England in 3-2

Manika pulls out

After the team’ win, Manika Batra now withdrew at the eleventh hour from singles and doubles, which forced the referee to redraw the seeding list this afternoon, citing her indisposition. She, however, played her part and helped India win the women’s crown.

Last year, Manika became the first Indian ever to win a ‘Breakthrough Table Tennis Star’ award at the prestigious International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Star Awards in Incheon, South Korea

“I am really honoured and happy to have received the award. I feel 2018 has been the best year of my career so far and I am happy for what I have achieved. I would like to thank the Government, the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) and most importantly, my family, who has been there for me and motivated me along this journey,” Manika Batra had said at the ceremony.

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Recently, Manika also reached her career-best ranking of 52 and became India’s highest ranked female table tennis player.

At Gold Coast, Manika scripted history as the first Indian woman to bag the gold medal in the table tennis singles final. She won each competition with grit and determination and became an overnight sensation. Manika also secured women’s doubles silver alongside Mouma Das and mixed doubles bronze with G Sathiyan. She won four medals in the Commonwealth Games and two of them are gold. In the latest, the Delhi girl claimed the women’s title in the National Ranking tournament on July 10. She is the only Indian in the Top-100.

Manika has become Indian sports’ new poster girl

In 2014, Manika had reached the quarterfinals at the Commonwealth Games. A year later, she helped India bag a team silver and women’s doubles silver in the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship. She qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning the South Asia Group qualification tournament.

Madhurika, too, was part of the Indian women’s team, which won historic gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast last year. The 2017 National Champion has many accomplishments to her name, most notable ones being the semi-final match against England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and Gold medal win in the 2nd Division of the Women’s Team event held at Kuala Lumpur in 2016. She claimed the spotlight with the 2010 South Asian Games at Dhaka where she earned four Gold medals, and a Silver medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games at New Delhi.

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Feature Image Credit: Sportstar

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