Indian table tennis player Ayhika Mukherjee settled for a silver medal after going down 1-3 to Korea’s Youjin Kim in the final of the ITTF Challenge Belgium Open in the under-21 women’s singles category.
Anthony Amalraj and Sanil Shetty too fought their way into the medals’ bracket, bagging a bronze in the men’s doubles.
Ayhika put up a brave fight in the summit clash but Kim proved to be a tough nut to crack in the end. In the semifinals, Ayhika had defeated Hong Kong’s Chengzhu Zhu 3-1 to enter the finals.
She had lost the first game 6-11 but showed great spirit to win the next three 11-3, 11-7, 11-8 against Chengzhu.
Ayhika’s impressive run in the tournament started with a 3-1 win against Poland’s Natalia Bajor in the round of 32. Compatriot Sreeja Akula also beat Alina Nikitchanka of Belarus by a 3-0 margin to enter the prequarters.
However, Archana Kamath and Moumita Dutta bowed out with defeats.
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In the pre-quarters, Ayhika downed France’s Audrey Zarif 3-0 but Sreeja lost to eventual winner Youjin Kim of Korea.
In the quarterfinals, Ayhika dominated the proceedings against Satsuki Odo of Japan, winning the first two games 11-9, 11-9. She slipped in the third though, going down 4-11 rather quickly.
However, she regained her wits to win the last game 11-4 to move into the semifinal round.
in men’s doubles, Amalraj-Shetty started slowly, losing a tight opening game 10-12 to the Belgian pair of Olav Kosolosky and Laurens Devos. They had a tough second game too which they eventually managed to win 15-13.
There was no stopping them thereafter, winning the next two 11-9, 11-6.
In the quarterfinals too, they had to use all their experience to ward off the Swedish pair of Viktor Brodd and Simon Berglund. They won the tie 3-1, losing the second game which brought the best out of them.
Up against the daunting Korean pair of Seungmin Cho and Jaehyun An in the semifinal, the Indian duo fought valiantly but yielded 6-11, 8-11, 7-11 to settle for the bronze medal.