India's national table tennis champion Manika Batra says she is focussed on securing a berth for the 2016 Rio Games to realise her ultimate dream of wining an Olympic medal.
"My dream now is to represent India at the Rio Olympics. I am focused on preparing myself and maintaining a good performance to compete but let us hope I get qualified for it (Olympics), " Manika told IANS on Monday.
The silver medallist in the Under - 21 (youth) category of Chile Open said: "I am practising seven - to - eight hours every day preparing myself to qualify for Rio games. I will give all my best to win at the the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur and the Asian Olympic table tennis qualifying tournament in Hong Kong. "
"I know it will be tough competition (Rio's Qualifying tournament). I have to compete with world - beaters from China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, " she added.
The Kuala Lumpur event will be held from February 28 to March 6 followed by the Hong Kong meet from April 13 - 17.
"My goal to go to Rio is to win a medal for India, " said the 5 - foot - 11 - inch tall paddler, who showed her tremendous consistency in the ongoing 12th South Asian Games.
Asked if she considered the ongoing 12th South Asian Games (SAG) as a warm - up event, Manika said: "I don't take it (South Asian Games) that way. I came here with a positive mind to win all the matches for India. "
However, the 20 - year - old paddler said the Indian team members strongly felt that the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) should send its paddlers to further improve their skills.
A TTFI official, however, said they were planning to send their top paddlers to Europe for a month - long training for the qualification round of the Rio Olympics after the World Table Tennis Championship.
(Raymond Kharmujai can be contacted at rrkharmujai@gmail. com)