KOCHI:Tamil Nadu emerged clear victors at the table tennis singles finals held at Prakash Padukone Plaza, riding on the shoulders of a golden victory secured by K Shamini in the women’s and Anthony Amalraj in the men’s finals.
In what was the best turnout at the venue since the commencement of the National Games, Tamil Nadu’s Shamini faced off first against West Bengal’s Ankita Das. A relatively subdued Shamini found herself three sets down before executing a brilliant comeback in the last four to win the crown.
The first and second set fame stood at 7-11 and 6-11 in favour of Olympian Ankita Das, who relied heavily on backhand returns to keep her opponent on her feet.
The third witnessed Shamini improve her stride, but a series of misplaced shots on her part saw her squander a 7-3 advantage to lose 10-12.
She bounced back strongly in the final four with scores of 11-3, 11-3, 11-9 and 11-6 for a well earned 4-3 victory. “I could not play the first three sets consistently. Almost 99 per cent of the shots that Ankita played were back hands. I stopped being hasty, started playing more consistently once I started to counter those shots. I rushed the points early on,” said the 26-year-old after her win.
In contrast to the subdued celebrations on the part of Shamini, Anthony Amalraj was boisterous post his thumping victory against Harmeet Desai of Gujarat, tearing off his shirt and roaring at the stands. With an aggressive Anthony claiming the first, third, fourth and fifth games, sets, an off colour Harmeet found himself incapable of replicating his victory in the second. The final score was 4-1.
It was clearly sweet revenge for the Tamil Nadu native who lost to the Gujarat team including Harmeet and Devesh Karia in the men’s doubles finals, in addition to losing both matches to Harmeet in the men’s team qualifier and final round. “This is my first tournament win after about a year and-a-half. Having been defeated at the national championships in the pre-quarters, this win has given me much-needed boost,” he said.