Commonwealth Table Tennis: Indian men, women progress to Super Eights in style

In 12 matches that the men and women featured combined over four rubbers, the home team paddlers dropped just two games.

Sharath Kamal dropped the opening game against Singapore's Zheyu Clarence Chew but went on to win the match.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

India’s men and women registered thumping wins in the preliminary stage to top their respective groups and qualify for the Super Eights in style on the opening day of the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship.

So dominant were the Indian teams that in 12 matches that the men and women featured combined over four rubbers, the home team paddlers dropped just two games. Despite featuring in a tricky group along with Scotland and dangerous Singapore, A. Sharath Kamal’s troupe made short work of both the teams without much fuss. Only Sharath lost the opening game against Singapore’s Zheyu Clarence Chew but made a strong comeback to leave his opponent in awe.

Read: New coach Dejan Papic to begin stint with team from July

The women, on the other hand, had an easy draw in the first stage. Despite resting Madhurika Patkar in both the ties and key paddler Manika Batra in the second tie, the women hardly broke any sweat while thrashing Sri Lanka and South Africa with an identical margin of 3-0. Ayhika Mukherjee lost the only game for Indian women on the day  against Sri Lanka’s Chamathsara Fernando.

Meanwhile, TTFI secretary general M.P. Singh confirmed that five paddlers from Uganda and three from Guyana will arrive in the ancient city latest by Friday and participate in the individual events. Both the teams had to withdraw from the team championship since they didn’t get the requisite approval from their respective governments. It will result in the number of participating countries in the event increasing to 14. “More the merrier,” he said.

Important results

Team championship: Preliminary stage

Women

Group B: India bt Sri Lanka 3-0 (Manika Batra bt Bimandi Bandara 11-5, 11-4, 11-5; Archana Kamath bt Ishara Madurangi 11-5, 11-5, 12-10; Ayhika Mukherjee bt Chamathsara Fernando 11-3, 11-3, 8-11, 11-4); India bt South Africa 3-0 (Archana Kamath bt Danisha Patel 11-6, 11-2, 11-2; Madhurika Patkar bt Palesa Mtshoelibe 11-2, 11-5, 11-3; Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Simeen Mookrey 11-1, 11-4, 11-4); Sri Lanka bt South Africa 3-0

Men

Group B: India bt Scotland 3-0 (G. Sathiyan bt Niall Cameron 11-4, 11-7, 11-8; A. Sharath Kamal bt Colin Dalgleish 11-2, 11-6, 11-9; Harmeet Desai bt Dylan Curry 11-2, 11-6, 11-1); India bt Singapore 3-0 (G. Sathiyan bt Yu En Koen Pang 11-7, 11-9, 11-8; A. Sharath Kamal bt Zheyu Clarence Chew 8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9; Harmeet Desai bt Shao Han Josh 11-4, 11-7, 11-6)

Qualifiers for Super Eights

Women

Group A: Singapore, Wales; Group B: India, Sri Lanka; Group C: Australia, Malaysia; Group D: England, Nigeria

Men

Group A: England, Sri Lanka; Group B: India, Singapore; Group C: Malaysia, Nigeria; Group D: Australia, Wales.