Zeel Desai wins two gold medals; India finishes seventh

India moved to the seventh spot in the overall medals table with four gold, a silver and six bronze medals. The other medals for India were won in boxing and judo, including a gold each in the two disciplines.

Zeel Desai of India competes in the Girl's Singles gold medal tennis match against Eliza Omirou of Cyprus at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games.   -  AFP

 

Rising tennis star Zeel Desai did not drop a set on way to winning the girls singles and mixed doubles titles in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas.

In the finals on Sunday, the 18-year-old Zeel fought past Eliza Omirou of Cyprus 6-3, 7-6(6) for the gold in the girls event.

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“It was a wonderful experience, winning these gold medals. I was playing for India and the expectations were really high on us doing well in tennis,” said Zeel, quite thrilled with her contribution.

Siddhant Banthia, who had lost the boys semifinals, cruised to the bronze medal with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Eleftherios Neos of Cyprus.

The fact that the Indian pair had to play the same players in the mixed doubles final made it relatively easier for both Siddhant and Zeel, in terms of gauging their opponents, as they clinched the gold without much fuss.

‘’I expected to win the gold medals. Right at the start, I had told myself that I need these two gold medals, come what may. I was so motivated playing for the country’’, said Zeel.

The two gold and the bronze put India on top of the medals table in tennis. The other gold medal in tennis went to Hamish Stewart of Scotland who had beaten Siddhant in the semifinals.

“I just loved to play in that situation. When your whole team, with all the other athletes, is supporting you, it feels great,” said Zeel, as she recalled the experience of winning 50 per cent of the gold for the Indian contingent.

The good show in tennis, in which India had won all the three gold medals in the last edition in Samoa through Sasi Kumar Mukund and Dhruthi Venugopal, helped India to the seventh spot in the overall medals table with four gold, a silver and six bronze medals. The other medals for India were won in boxing and judo, including a gold each in the two disciplines.

England topped the table with 51 medals including 23 gold, and was followed by Australia (39) and New Zealand (31).

The results:

Boys (third place): Siddhant Banthia bt Eleftherios Neos (Cyp) 6-2, 6-0. Girls (final): Zeel Desai bt Eliza Omirou (Cyp) 6-3, 7-6(6).

Mixed doubles (final): Siddhant Banthia & Zeel Desai bt Eleftherios Neos & Eliza Omirou (Cyp) 6-4, 6-3.

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