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Manika Batra reaches career-high ranking of World No. 24

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) Ace women's table tennis star Manika Batra rose to a career-best singles ranking of 24 following her success in the Saudi Smash, becoming the first Indian woman player to break into the top-25 in world rankings.

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The 28-year-old Khel Ratna awardee, who was in the 39th spot before the tournament, jumped 15 spots following her run in Jeddah, where she reached the quarterfinals.

It was also the first time an Indian woman player advanced that deep in the tournament.

Batra's rise through the draw earned her 350 points, and she said the surge in her ranking would work as a confidence booster for her ahead of the all-important Paris Olympics in July.

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“To break into the top 25 and achieve my career-best ranking just months before the Olympic Games is definitely a very potent boost to my preparations.

“As I look ahead to Paris 2024, I'm motivated more than ever to continue this performance and move upwards in the ranking to make my country proud. Improvement is a continuous process and I am committed to it,” she said.

Earlier, in an Instagram post, Batra, who had made history by becoming the first Indian table tennis player to reach the women's singles quarterfinals at the Hangzhou Asian Games, last year, thanked her coach Aman Balgu and sparring partner Kirill Barabanov of Belarus for her success.

“Thank you, everyone, for your blessings and support. Especially my coach @amanbalgu, my sparring partner @kirill_barabanov and my family for the constant support. Onward and upward towards Paris 2024," she wrote.

Batra, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in individual and team categories, had shocked multiple-time world champion and Olympic gold medallist China's Wang Manyu (seeded second) on her way to the last eight in the Saudi Smash. PTI AM UNG APA

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