India clinch men’s table tennis gold medal at 2018 Commonwealth Games
India blanked Nigeria 3-0 to win the men’s table tennis gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on MondayUpdated: Apr 09, 2018 19:14 IST
“I would be surprised if we don’t win a medal in the team championship,” Achanta Sharath Kamal had said as the Indian table tennis team was readying to leave Mumbai. But even he would not have imagined a gold rush of this proportion. Not only did the men’s team win but India also completed a grand double by winning the women’s team title too. (CWG 2018 UPDATES)
Sharath’s confidence stemmed from the fact that India currently have six players in the top 100 in men’s singles and even though Soumyajit Ghosh was dropped because of an FIR registered against him, the Indian team had enough depth to reclaim the men’s team title they had first won at home in 2006.
On Monday, India overcame Singapore 3-2 in the semi-finals in morning before outplaying Nigeria, bronze medallist in 2014, to comfortably register a memorable triumph. Sharath was the star of the triumph over Singapore too as he won both his matches, including the match-deciding fifth tie against Xue Jie Pang. Sharath, who led the team superbly in 2006, set the ball rolling by scoring a come-from-behind win against Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun. Sharath lost the first game 4-11 but recovered well in time to next three 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 to give India 1-0 lead.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the world No 49, was initially surprised by Nigeria’s Segun Toriola but he won 10-12, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4.
Nigeria were hampered by the absence of doubles specialist Quadri Aruna and that showed in their results as they went down tamely.
Sathiyan then partnered Harmeet Desai in the doubles to seal a memorable gold medal for India. Harmeet and Sathiyan won 11-8, 11-5-11-5 against Olajide Omotayo and Bode Aboidun to seal victory.
It is measure of India’s resurgence in Commonwealth table tennis that they defeated both Singapore and Nigeria by 3-0.
India’s Italian coach Massimo Costantini was expecting a tough day for his boys. Speaking after the women’s team had won the gold medal last night, the Italian had termed Singapore as “super favourite” in the semi-finals. But his boys perfectly executed their tactics to perfection.
“I am very happy with today’s game. It’s not always easy to prove you’re the best. The players got better and better as the games went on,” Sharath said after the match.
First Published: Apr 09, 2018 16:06 IST