India men win team bronze in Asian TT, women finish fifth
Doha (Qatar), October 1, 2021
The Indian men's table tennis team comprising Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanesekaran, and Harmeet Desai enhanced its reputation with a bronze medal in the Asian Table Tennis Championships here on Friday.
The Indian women's team playing without Manika Batra, who was left out as she did not attend the camp, finished fifth after a 3-1 win against Thailand.
India had won the men's team bronze at the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018 and Friday's bronze in the Asian Championships cements their reputation among the top three in the Continent.
On Friday, the Indian team lost 0-3 to top seeds South Korea in the semi-finals. They were already assured of a medal as both losing semi-finalists get bronze medals just like at the Asian Games.
Though the scoreline may show that the Koreans won it easily, the Indians did put up a fight. Sathiyan lost to World No 12 Jang Woo-Jin but took a game off the higher-ranked player in the 3-1 (11-5, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5) defeat.
Four-time -Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal could not capitalise on a 2-1 lead as he went down to World No. 22 Lee Sang-Su 3-2 (7-11, 15-13, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9). Harmeet Desai too came back strongly after losing the first game to win the next two but eventually went down 3-2 (11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 13-11), losing in extra points in the deciding game.
In the women's section, India did not get off to a good start as Archana Kamath took Thailand's top player to the decider but lost to Suthsani Sawettabut 3-2 (7-11, 11-7,11-7, 6-11, 12-10).
Olympian Sutirtha Mukherjee levelled the score with a comfortable 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-6) win against Phanitita Pinyopisan.
Sreeja Akula gave India the lead by beating Wirakarn Tayapitak 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-2) before Sutirthia came back to wrap up things, beating Suthsani Sawettabut 3-1 (11-7, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7) in the reverse singles match.