India at Asian Games on Sep 23: Table tennis stars look to qualify for knockouts on day dominated by opening ceremony
The Indian table tennis stars could qualify for the knockouts even before they walk with the rest of the contingent at the opening ceremony on September 23.
India's men's and women's table tennis teams could be walking out with the rest of their contingent at the Asian Games opening ceremony in Hangzhou on Saturday having already secured their place in the knockouts of their events. The Indian women's team face Nepal while the men's team face Tajikistan and victories in these matches will confirm their spots in the round of 16. While these matches will take place on the morning of Saturday, the opening ceremony is scheduled for the evening.
While the individual events have not begun yet, the team events in table tennis had started on September 22 and India's men's and women's teams won their matches on their first day. The men's team started off with a facile 3-0 victory over Yemen and then got the better of Singapore 3-1 in their second Group F tie.
Indian women will face Nepal in their final Group F tie starting at 7.30am IST on Saturday at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Gymnasium. The men's team then face Tajikistan in their final Group F match at 9.30am IST. The opening ceremony is then scheduled to start at 5.30pm IST at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, also known as the Big Lotus. Indian men's hockey captain Harmanpreet Singh and Olympic bronze medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain will be India's flag bearers at the opening ceremony later in the day.
On Friday, veteran Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai made short work of their Yemenese opponents to notch straight game victories. In their second tie of the day against Singapore, Sathiyan beat Izaac Young Quek 5-11 12-10 11-6 11-9, while Harmeet had to dig deep to get past Yew En Koen Pang 12-10 11-8 6-11 6-11 11-5. Sharath, however, lost to Zhe Yu Clarence Chew 11-13 8-11 12-10 5-11 to hand Singapore some breathing space. But Sathiyan ensured India continued their winning streak, beating Pang 11-7 10-12 11-9 11-6.
The women's team played in the time between the two men's matches and they beat Singapore. 3-2 in their opening Group F fixture. It was not a perfect start for the Indian women as Ayhika Mukherjee lost 11-7 2-11 7-11 10-12 to Jian Zeng. But Manika Batra drew the scores level for India, defeating Jingyi Zhou 11-9 9-11 11-7 11-3 and then Sreeja Akula gave India the lead with a fighting 12-14 11-9 8-11 11-9 11-7 win over Xin Ru Wong. Singapore took the tie into the decider when Batra lost 3-11 11-3 10-12 12-10 10-12 to Zeng. But Mukherjee ensured a positive start for the Indian women by a registering 11-7 11-8 9-11 11-5 over Zhou.
Check out India's full schedule at the Asian Games on September 23:
Table Tennis: Men's and women's team events
Women's: India vs Nepal (7.30am IST)
Men's: India vs Tajikistan (9.30am IST)
Sailing: Multiple events (8:30 am IST)