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Table Tennis: Manav on top of world in U-21
New Delhi, January 4, 2020
The title win at the ITTF Challenge Plus Canada Open in Markham has catapulted Manav Thakkar to the World No. 1 position in the Under-21 category, according to the ranking list released on Friday.
The Surat-born Thakkar was No 3 in November but had dropped to 10th in December’s rankings. However, he saw a massive rise in points and climbed to the top, beginning the new year on 6,780 points.
At the year-end event last month, the 19-year-old became the first Indian since 2017 to win an Under-21 men’s singles title in Canada when he beat Argentina’s Martin Bentancor 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 in the final.
Back in 2018, Manav had become the first Indian table tennis player to make it to the top of the U-18 world rankings. Since then his rise has been meteoric. Within a few months, he earned a call-up to the Asian Games squad that won bronze in the men’s team event.
Subsequently, at the Asian Championships, Manav picked up his first win against a top-50 paddler when he defeated then world no 34 Kazuhiro Yoshimura of Japan. In October, he competed at the Youth Olympics where he lost in the round of 16 to World No 5 Tomokazu Harimoto.
G. Sathiyan, who was ranked No. 30 in the world in August , continued to retain his position, according to the list released yesterday. However, the second top-ranked Indian A. Sharath Kamal improved to be at No. 33 in the latest ranking list. He was No. 34 in December .
The top woman paddler of the country, Manika Batra, has remained at No. 61 in the world, which was the position at the end of last year.