Fri, 24 Jan 2020

Cuttack (Odisha) [India], July 22 (ANI): Harmeet Desai and Ayhika Mukherjee bagged men's single and women's single gold respectively in the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, which concluded at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Monday.

But the best thing which marked the championship was that no individual could replicate the gold-winning performance in other events.Indeed, no one deserved to lose the men's singles final, but Desai deserved more to win the title. After being in arrears (0-2), he brought out the best in a crunch situation to outwit favourites Sathiyan.

A particular rally in the fourth game which brought a winning point to Desai must have been really demoralising for Sathiyan.

Equally important was the win by Surat boy in the next which kept lingering until he sealed it 17-15. No doubt, Sathiyan made it 3-3 after trailing for the first time, but Gujarat lad played a great game to wrap it up in the decider.Earlier, Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal failed to counter the fury of Anthony Amalraj and Manav Thakkar, who claimed the men doubles gold, downing the top pair 3-1 after the Indians had banished the Singapore and England pairs, respectively, in the semifinals.In women singles, Ayhika Mukherjee seized the great opportunity to win her maiden gold in the championships when she blanked out Madurika Patkar 4-0.

Madhurika, who was absolutely inert at least in the first three games despite her attaching posture. But Ayhika was clever enough to take pace off the ball, forcing her opponent to make all mistakes. The former national champion showed a glimpse of a fightback but Ayhika, after frittering away three match-points, won the fourth for a well-deserved victory.In fact, Madhurika also had some harrowing moments in the semifinal against Sreeja Akula. The little girl from Telangana matched Madhurika's stroke, but could not do against the experience of her rival, particularly in the extended fifth game as Madhurika won 4-1 to seal her place. In the adjacent table, Ayhika put it across Ho Tin-Tin of England after dropping her third game to win by an identical margin.In women doubles, Pooja Sahasrabudhe and Krittwika Sinha Roy defeated the other Indian pair of Sreeja Akula and Mousumi Paul 3-1. The pair had, in the semifinals, beaten Singapore duo of Goi Rui Xuan and Wong Xin Ru in straight games, while Sreeja and Mousumi defeated the third Indian pair of Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee, also by a 3-0 verdict.

The domination of our paddlers at the championships could be gauged from the fact that all finals today featured only the Indians, making it more of a national event than an international one. In the final analysis, India won seven gold--the best ever haul--five silver and three bronze medals to be the table toppers. (ANI)

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