Gondomar (Portugal): The Indian women's table tennis team's quest for a Tokyo Olympics berth ended on Saturday after losing to France 2-3 in a play-off match of the qualification tournament.
The Indian women's team had lost to Romania 2-3 in a pre-quarter-final match on Friday.
Ranked 23rd, just a place above France, the Indian team took the lead through Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee in the opening match, beating Stephanie Loeuillette and Yuan Jian Nan 11-7, 6-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8.
Though Manika Batra, ranked 61st, lost her opening singles 7-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-3, 7-11 to Marie Migot, ranked 195th, she was able to put India back in the reckoning when she won 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 against Stephanie Loeuillette in the second singles.
But the euphoria lasted just a couple of games as Ayhika, playing the last match of the tie against Marie, led 2-1 but her French opponent pulled level before winning the decider to sending India packing. Ayhika lost 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 9-11.
With just two singles entries allowed per country, the Indian women, especially Manika and Archana Kamath, can hope for the best when they participate in the April event in Thailand for singles qualification.
The Indian men's team is slated to meet Czech Republic in their opening play-off match later on Saturday.
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Updated Date: Jan 25, 2020 22:42:14 IST