Manika Batra and G Sathiyan made history on Tuesday by becoming the first Indian mixed doubles team to reach the top five in the ITTF Table Tennis World Rankings. The pair rose in the rankings after reaching the WTT Contender final in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, where they fell to South Korea 3-0.
In Nova Gorica, Manika Batra and Sathiyan outperformed bronze medalists from Hong Kong for Tokyo 2020 Doo Hoi Kem and her partner Wong Chun-ting, earning 280 ranking points in the process, moving them up to No. 5 in the world rankings.
When they overcame Hungary's Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz in Budapest in August of last year, Manika Batra and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan became the first-ever Indians to win a WTT Contender championship. Later, they made history by becoming the first Indian mixed doubles team to enter the top 15 in the global rankings.
Since the Indian duo first entered the top 10 in March of this year. They advanced to the WTT Contender Doha final in March but fell to the top-ranked team from Chinese Taipei, Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching.
Sathiyan wrote on social media, "Breaking into the world's top-5 rankings has been a dream come true moment."
“It is indeed a great milestone towards our goal of reaching the pinnacle and winning that elusive Olympic medal,” he added. India's top players in the women's and men's singles divisions are Manika Batra and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, respectively.
Sreeja Akula, the women's national champion, is rated 76th, while Batra is placed 44th in the women's singles world rankings. In the men's singles rankings, G Sathiyan is ranked 39th, and the champion of the 2022 Commonwealth Games Sharath Kamal is ranked 44th.
While Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar are India's top-ranked men's doubles team at world No. 29, Batra and her partner Archana Girish Kamath are still rated No. 5 in the world in women's doubles.