04 Jul 2020

The youngest member of the Indian outfit that secured a landmark bronze medal in the men’s team event at 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Manav Vikash Thakkar is very much treading where colleagues have not stepped before.

In February 2018 he stood in top spot on the under 18 boys’ world rankings; now on the most recently issued lists, April 2020, he occupies the same position in the under 21 men’s world order.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer

Quotes from myKhel published on Sunday 21st June.

Recently, Thakkar was nominated for the prestigious Arjuna Awards, presented by the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in recognition of outstanding achievements in sport. Should he succeed, he will be the 30th table tennis player to receive the honour.

“I am delighted to know that I was nominated for the Arjuna Award. I wish I will receive it this year. It is a feeling of pride for me if I take this prestigious award home.” Manav Vikash Thakkar

Earlier in 2015 Thakkar received the Indian National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement in Sport, before in 2017 gaining the Mr Consistent Performer of the Year trophy at the GoSports Foundation Awards.

Asian Games

A prestigious award but whatever Manav Vikash Thakkar achieves in the future, although resigned to the bench in the team event at the Asian Games, the overall success in Jakarta will always be high on his list of achievements.

“I was selected for the Indian senior team for the first time for Asian Games 2018, we won an historic bronze medal. It was a great learning experience for me. The senior players were very supportive. I learnt a lot from them. I learnt how to make strategies, how to handle a pressure of big tournaments.” Manav Vikash Thakkar

Major events, one sportsman who has experienced such situations is Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of the the Indian cricket team in various formats of the game from 2007 to 2016; he is highly respected by Manav Vikash Thakkar

“Dhoni is my role model, I like him very much. He is a cool and calm sportsperson and also very hardworking; I want to be like him.” Manav Vikash Thakkar

Played at home

A fine example to follow for the 20 year old who is now a seasoned international

“I started playing table tennis at six in 2006. We had a table tennis board at home where my parents used to play. I started playing by watching them play. I played with my father at home for first six months, I learnt the basics very fast so my parents took me to a table tennis academy near my home at Surat.” Manav Vikash Thakkar

Education and sport

Dedicated to the sport of table tennis, Thakkar has been able to combine playing at a high level with education.

“I was good at my studies also, I hardly got time to study due to the busy schedule of tournaments and practice. I used to study on weekends, being at home I got a lot of support from my parents. From the seventh grade onwards, I was at the PSPB Academy in Ajmer. It was quite difficult to manage both academics and table tennis. Somehow I managed my school and studies and scored around 70 per cent marks in both 10th and 12th board exams.” Manav Vikash Thakkar

Hard work and dedication have been major factors in the success gained but in the classroom and in the table tennis arenas.

“The secret behind my success is my focus, hard work, passion and concentration; also the support of my federation, my Sponsors and guidance of my coaches and fellow players. Patience is very important you need to be discipline and should have never give up attitude”, Manak Vikash Thakkar

Olympic goal

Determined, as with all others, the Olympic Games is the goal but he may need to wait until 2024.

“My next big goal is to improve my senior world ranking and first I want to be in the league of top 100 ITTF world ranking. Next, I want to represent India in the Olympics.” Manav Vikash Thakkar

Clear aims, also Manav Vikash Thakkar has advice for young players

“Love the sport. Work hard and trust the process, success will not come the very next day, be disciplined in terms of practice, training sessions, diet. Train regularly and exercise as well, one day you will surely succeed.” Manav Vikash Thakkar

The original article first appeared on Sunday 21st June in myKhel written by Vishal Sharma: Interview! Table Tennis star Manav Thakkar wishes to emulate MS Dhoni’s calm demeanour, eyes Olympic qualification

General News Features Manav Vikash Thakkar