India’s challenge in the table tennis event at the 16th Asian Games ended on Thursday as Sharath Kamal and Anthony Amalraj lost in the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals.

The result was similar in the women’s singles with Shamini Kumaresan going down fighting to Japanese Sayaka Hirano 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11 in the last 16.

At the outset, the Indian hopes of getting past the initial stages were slim with the presence of world-class players from China, South Korea and Japan in the continental event.

World No.48 Sharath picked up a game against No.14 Oh Sang Eun of South Korea but lost 9-11, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 6-11. Korea proved India’s nemesis for the day as Sharath and Subhajit Saha were blanked 9-11, 6-11, 4-11 by Sang and Jungwoo Lee in the doubles pre-quarterfinals.

Amalraj, in his singles match, managed to push 11th-ranked Chih-Yuan Chang of Chinese Taipei in the second game but was defeated by the better player 6-11, 10-12, 5-11, 1-11.

In the women’s singles, Shamini showed how she has improved her game in the last six months, giving a tough fight to World No.9 Sayako but finally lost 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11.

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