Sports

June 24, 2024

WTT Contender Lagos Champions leap in latest ITTF Ranking

WTT Contender Lagos Champions leap in latest ITTF Ranking

Singles winners at the just concluded WTT Contender Lagos Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and India’s Sreeja Akula have risen in Week 26 of the 2024 ITTF Ranking released by the world table tennis ruling body.

Ovtcharov who ranked 19th before the tournament rose to 14 in the Men’s ranking while Akula displaced Manika Batra as the highest-ranked female Indian player in the world after she climbed up by 19 steps to be rated 24th in the world.

Ovtcharov, a finalist at the 2023 edition of the WTT Contender Lagos, right the wrong by claiming the title at the expense of his compatriot Ricardo Walther at 4-1 to claim his first WTT title since 2021.

Like the German, Akula prevailed against Ding Yijie of China 4-1 (10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6) to set history becoming the first Indian to win the WTT Series singles crown.

The 25-year-old became the most successful player at the WTT Contender Lagos as she partnered with Archana Girish Kamath to register a 3-0 victory in the women’s doubles finals defeating compatriots Yashaswini Ghorpade and Diya Parag Chitale to increase her title to two in one tournament.

A delighted Akula after her Lagos triumph said: “I’m very happy to win my first WTT Contender title. The first one is always special, and I’m happy to win two titles here in Lagos. I think the Indians have been doing well for the last few years, and our table tennis has been growing fast.

“This has been an amazing tournament for all Indians contingent, and we are all looking forward to the upcoming Paris Olympics and we look forward to giving our best for the country. There were butterflies in my stomach before the final against the Chinese, but I was focused on playing my best and not seeing whom I was playing against. I just must play my own game, and I followed what I was taught and I’m thankful to my coach and chief coach, who helped me strategize.

for Akula, the amazing Lagos fans added colour to the tournament, “It was an amazing tournament, especially for the crowd, who were enthusiastic. They motivated me a lot, and I look forward to many WTT Tournaments in Lagos,” she said.

Like Ovtcharov, the likes of Germany’s Walther, India’s Sutirtha Mukherjee, Ayhika Mukherjee, Yashaswini Ghorpade as well as Women’s Singles finalist Ding Yijie of China also rose in their world rating for this week.