Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula gave India its first-ever Commonwealth Games mixed doubles gold medal and the second table tennis gold in Birmingham by overcoming the giant-killer Malaysian pair of Javen Choong and Karen Lyne in Birmingham on Sunday night.
Sharath and Sreeja overcame Choong and Lyne - who had earlier ousted pre-tournament favourites G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra - 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 in the best-of-five-games final.
India’s men’s team - led by Sharath - had earlier won the team championship gold.
The victory meant Sharath - who had earlier made it to the men’s singles final despite settling for silver in the men’s doubles category along with Sathiyan - remained on course for a treble-gold medal run.
For Sreeja - the star of India’s women paddlers this week - it was a deserving medal to sign off a memorable week. Sreeja put the disappoinment of losing her singles bronze medal playoff behind her to star in the last encounter of the day with her powerful forehand winners.
Sharath, having played two matches earlier in the day, was happy to let Sreeja take centre stage and chipped in consistently against a relatively inexperienced pairing.
Earlier in the evening, while Sharath ousted England’s Paul Drinkhall in six hard-fought games in the men’s singles semifinal, Sathiyan stumbled against England No. 1 Liam Pitchford.
Pitchford proved too aggressive and quick for Sathiyan, who was found wanting on multiple fronts in the semifinal. While Sharath will face Pitchford in Monday’s final, Sathiyan will hope to earn his maiden CWG medal by defeating Drinkhall in the bronze medal playoff.
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