Indian women assured themselves of a silver medal after an impressive 3-0 win over England in the table tennis semifinals of the Commonwealth Games at the Yamuna Sports Complex here on Thursday.
India will take on World champion Singapore in the final. The defending champion blanked Malaysia 3-0 in a last four clash. This is Indian women's team best finish in the Games. While in the 2002 edition it finished sixth, it bagged a bronze in the 2006 Melbourne Games.
The moment Joanna Parker placed a backhand wide in the third rubber against Poulomi Ghatak, the Indian went down,unable to control her emotions. Her 11-8, 11-3, 11-6 victory over Parker, a defensive paddler, put India into the summit clash. Earlier, K. Shamini and Mouma Das played with a rare confidence and panache to script victories.
Shamini has been the pick of the lot among the Indians in the Games. Though she has been erratic and tense at times, overall she has improved as a fine all-court player. The improvement one has seen in Shamini is her eagerness to go for her shots during long rallies.
Her calm demeanour and aggressive instincts will take her places in the years to come. It was there to be seen in the match against Australia and now against England. Her 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 win over Kelly Sibley, ranked 164 places above in the opening match, did show a marked improvement.
India's foreign coach Massimo Constantini said as much. “Shamini has showed he is an international-level paddler. She has the capacity to reach the top 100,” he said.
Mouma is considered to be effective against defensive players.
Even in the quarterfinal match against Australia, the coach reposed faith in her ability to take on players who chop and stay back of the table. She didn't disappoint in the second match against Parker, winning comfortably 11-3, 11-8, 11-7.
The Indian team management insisted that the victory was a well-deserved one, earned after months of careful planning and preparation.
“In the month-long camp in China recently we played with a lot of Chinese defensive players and it has certainly helped,” India's coach Bhawani Mukherjee said.
In the men's quarterfinals, Nigeria fought back from the brink to defeat Australia 3-2.
Keywords: CWG 2010