Commonwealth Games | Sport

CWG 2022 | India defends table tennis crown in style

Harmeet Desai of India celebrates victory during the men’s Gold Medal match on day five of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena on August 02, 2022 on the Birmingham, England.

Harmeet Desai of India celebrates victory during the men’s Gold Medal match on day five of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena on August 02, 2022 on the Birmingham, England. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

India’s paddlers retained their men’s team championship title with a convincing 3-1 win over Singapore in the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham on Tuesday.

After Sharath Kamal’s shock loss to southpaw Clarence Chew, Harmeet Desai put on a stunning show against Chew to seal the deal in India’s favour.

The final was a repeat of the group-stage affair between the two CWG table tennis powerhouses. With India having trumped Singapore 3-0, the latter changed its combination.

The reliable duo of Harmeet and G. Sathiyan got India off to an ideal start, with a 3-0 win in the lone doubles rubber against Koen Pang and Izaac Quek. While Sathiyan was solid with his forehand topspins, Harmeet stole the show with his backhand blocks to give India the lead.

Singapore head coach Gao Ning pitted Clarence Chew against Sharath. And the move worked wonders as the southpaw caught Sharath off guard in the duo’s first meeting in eight years. Clarence used his angles effectively to race to a win in four games.

Sharath appeared to have not recovered from the stunning show against World No. 15 Aruna Quadri the previous night. Despite lacking power in his winners, he resurrected to defensive tactics but Clarence was near-flawless as he levelled the rubber.

Sublime show

It was India’s first loss of a rubber in the team championship. But Sathiyan put India into ascendancy with a sublime show against Peng in the crucial rubber. And he showed all his skills by staying close to the table to find Peng wanting.

Harmeet then put the cherry on top with a heroic show against an in-form Clarence. The Surat paddler started off on an aggressive note in the first game to set Clarence on the backfoot. And the Singaporean could never recover thereafter as Harmeet raced to a 3-0 win to set off deserving celebrations.

The retention of men’s team gold came as a soothing balm after the women’s team’s disappointing exit in the quarterfinal. It was India’s seventh table tennis gold in Commonwealth Games ever since the sport was included in the quadrennial extravaganza in 2002. Sharath, the 40-year-old veteran, has been involved in each of five men’s gold medals.

The results (final): India bt Singapore 3-1 (G. Sathiyan/Harmeet Desai bt Koen Pang/Izaac Quek 13-11, 11-7, 11-5; A. Sharath Kamal lost to Clarence Chew 11-7, 12-14, 11-3, 11-9; Sathiyan bt Pang 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4; Harmeet bt Clarence 11-8, 11-5, 11-6). 


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 5:08:47 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/india-defends-table-tennis-crown-in-style/article65717914.ece