There couldn't have, possibly, been a sad face — personal disappointments aside — among the Indian table tennis contingent for the Commonwealth Games. The entire team, starting from chief coach Bhawani Mukherjee down to the youngest paddler K. Shamini, would be satisfied with the country's best-ever performance in the Games; five medals to three in the last edition.
Of course, as expected, Singapore took the lion's share of medals winning 12 out of the 21 on offer (excluding the wheelchair events). India stood second followed by England (3) and Malaysia (1). On Thursday, India's Mouma Das and Poulomi Ghatak gave further cheer to its supporters when the pair clinched the women's doubles bronze with a forceful 11-4, 11-7, 11-1 win over Zhenhua Vivian Tan and Peri Campbell-Innes of Australia.
Mouma Das was sharp and effective from the beginning. Her forehand smashes were working to a T and Poulomi played the second fiddle efficiently. “It was our fourth match and it wasn't easy,” said Mouma. “Blessings and hard-work have gone hand in hand in our case.” Poulomi said, “we were waiting for the medal as we had a target of five medals. I am happy as we have accomplished it.”
Sharath bags bronze
Sharath Kamal defeated Soumyadeep Roy to bag the men's singles bronze in a tepid match. Both looked drained out and as a result, the contest never reached any great heights. Rallies were fewer, errors galore and the match itself was bereft of emotions. Soumyadeep couldn't raise his game and made numerous unforced errors. Sharath, too, was pedestrian. But he pulled off an 11-8, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9 win.
“It's hard to fight against each other after playing an energy-draining match the other day (men's doubles). We were sluggish. I am happy that I won a bronze,” said Sharath.
Like the bronze medal match, the men's singles final turned out to be a dampener. Singapore's Gao Ning, the top seed, caved in without much of a fight to compatriot Yang Zi 11-3, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6. Known for his close-to-the-table play with effective counters, Ning displayed none of them. Bhawani Mukherjee and Massimo Constantini appreciated the team for putting up a fabulous show.
“All our efforts have borne fruit,” he said. Constantini, whose contract ends in November this year.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games