Manik Singh's table tennis tale
July 26, 2023
After being introduced to the sport of table tennis at 10 years of age, Manik Singh, a fourth-year BMOS student specializing in Finance and Administration, is now the highest-ranked table tennis player in Canada, according to the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA).
Shortly after picking up the paddle in his hometown of New Delhi, India, Singh’s skills caught the attention of his school’s table tennis coach. The coach’s encouragement and belief in his talents inspired Singh to embrace the sport wholeheartedly and join the school’s team. After placing third in his first provincial-level tournament, Singh enrolled in the Stag Table Tennis Academy, which was run by Sandeep Gupta, an accomplished coach who had been a member of the Indian Olympic team.
“The mechanics of table tennis fascinated me from the start. I effortlessly grasped the intricacies of spins, effectively countered peculiar serves, and thrived under pressure. This mentally challenging sport became my true passion,” says Singh.
Practice, and focus on his diet and fitness, combined with support from his high school, the Mother’s International School, and his parents, propelled Singh to a spot on the Indian National Table Tennis Team in 2017. “Representing my country in international tournaments became a dream come true,” he says.
Upon his graduation from The Mother’s International School, Singh was honoured with the Sri Budhha Memorial Award for achieving the highest level of sports excellence in the history of the school.
After arriving at King’s to begin his studies in the fall of 2020, Singh became a member of the Western Mustangs Table Tennis team. He says 2022-2023 was an outstanding year, both for the team and himself as an individual. “We have achieved remarkable success.”
Both the Women’s and Coed Mustangs teams placed first in the Waterloo Divisional Tournament in November 2022. Gold medal finishes at the Great Lakes Regional Championship, held in Rochester, New York, in March 2023, qualified the teams for the College Table Tennis National Championships, held in Round Rock, Texas, in April.
Western was one of two Canadian universities that qualified for the National Championships, where the team achieved historic results. The women’s team won a bronze medal, the first for Western University, and the coed team finished seventh, the best-ever performance for Western in that category.
Singh says he is immensely proud to represent the Western Mustangs in tournaments. “The opportunity to compete against the best of the best in high-level competitions fills me with excitement and fuels my desire to excel,” he says.
Along the way, Singh won the gold medal in individual competitions at the divisional tournament and a silver medal at regionals. “To add to these achievements, I maintained an undefeated record of 16-0 in the team event throughout the entire season, a feat that fills me with immense pride,” says Singh.
As part of the 82nd Annual Mustang Awards, held on April 6, 2023, Singh was named Men’s Table Tennis MVP, which he says was “the icing on the cake.”
While table tennis may not be as popular in Canada as it is in other countries, Singh believes that is about to change and that the Mustangs team will play a pivotal role by promoting the sport across Western University and the affiliates, ensuring equal opportunities for all aspiring student-athletes who share his passion for the game.
Singh is very grateful for the support he has received from King’s as a student-athlete. “King’s is a great place for athletes as it supports students in every way possible and has given me the opportunity to excel in my sport.” He credits the success of his journey from a tennis enthusiast to representing his country and university at the highest levels to his passion, hard work, and the unwavering support of those around him.
“Throughout this remarkable journey, sports taught me invaluable life lessons, including discipline, teamwork, and unwavering dedication. I firmly believe that hard work guarantees success, regardless of the obstacles faced,” says Singh.
CBC News: Meet the King's student who is the highest ranked table tennis player in Canada - August 1, 2023