India’s men and women overcame England in contrasting finals to repeat their last year’s team championship double-gold medal feat at Commonwealth Games by lifting the glittering trophies on the third day of the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship.
While the women rolled over England 3-0 in a one-sided contest to win a historic first gold for India in the tournament’s 48-year history, A. Sharath Kamal’s boys made a stunning comeback to edge past England 3-2 and retain their team title.
The men’s final turned out to be far more challenging than India anticipated. Perhaps the inexplicable delay in starting the match affected veteran Sharath but the World No. 32 suffered a shock defeat to England’s promising youngster Tom Jarvis, ranked 189 in the world. G. Sathiyan then led 2-0 against England’s main paddler Sam Walker but the latter made a stunning comeback to help England double the lead, leaving the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium gallery spellbound with his powerful backhand winners.
Harmeet Desai then survived tense moments before overcoming England’s David McBeath to celebrate his birthday in style. An aggressive Sathiyan and a composed Sharath then saw India home by making short work of Jarvis and Walker, respectively, to help India win its third team championship.
Women, however, had it easy. After breaking eight-times defending champion Singapore’s run in the semis, Manika Batra, Archana Kamath and Madhurika Patkar sailed past the England girls without breaking sweat.
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