Ace table-tennis player Sharath Kamal Achanta turned on his own fans after crashing out of the Commonwealth Games table tennis semi-finals on Wednesday, accusing the rowdy supporters of costing him a medal.
The Indian number one, who has been cheered wildly every time he has stepped onto the court at the Yamuna Sports Complex, was far from grateful for the vocal backing after losing a seven-set epic to Singapore's Yang Li. "The crowd was a big distraction and playing on home ground already had me under pressure," said Achanta.
"The spectators' loud support put additional pressure on my mind." Achanta took the lead three times during the semi-final but each time Yang was allowed to claw his way back. In the seventh set, the pair traded points again until Yang earned a match point at 10-9. A serve-return from Achanta sailed long and Yang fell to the ground in jubilation. "It was a tough match for me," said the Indian hope.
"I needed to start better in the sixth set but wasn't able to. "Yang Zi is a good player. From the sixth set he started serving his best, and his attack became really difficult for me."
Achanta has a chance to atone when he faces Yang again in the doubles final later on Wednesday. He and Subhajit Saha beat England's Andrew Baggaley and Liam Pitchford 3-2 in the semi-final earlier and face Yang and Gao Ning, who were at their efficient best in beating William Henzell and Robert Frank of Australia in straight sets.
"It will be a tough match for me and Subhajit Saha because we will be playing a Singaporean team," Achanta said. "They give us a tough match every time but I hope to perform well."