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Manika gets direct entry in World Junior TT



New Delhi, November 29: A four-member girls’ team, comprising Manika Batra, Suthirtha Mukhejee, Reeth Rishya Tennison and Ayhika Mukeerjee, and Sudhanshu Grover, the lone qualifier in the boys’ section, will be leaving for the 2013 World Junior Table Tennis Championships, to be held  at Rabat, the capital of Morocco, between December 1 and 8.


The girls’ team, which qualified on the basis of its good performances in recent international events, is seeded 10 while Manika Batra, the highest ranked Indian player at 36, has been given a direct entry into the main draw of the singles event. The other girls are figuring in the group events where they will have to go through the qualification process to get into the main draw.


The four girls, according to coach Kamlesh Mehta, who is accompanying the team, are the best of the lot in the junior section and have already made their presence felt at the national level, including in the senior section.


As for Grover, he is the lone Indian, who has been picked up by the ITTF to play in the singles following his excellent performances in recent time. In fact, his title-winning performance at the Reliance 2013 India Open in Mumbai in October, has come as a shot in the arm as his ranking improved by about 20 places. Before the Mumbai event he was ranked 96.  


Incidentally, the Junior worlds are restricted to only top 20 teams of the world and 96 players from each category on the basis of the ITTF rankings. India hosted the last edition at Hyderabad in December 2012.