CHENNAI: After the highs of the Commonwealth Games, Indian table tennis was given a reality check in the World Team Championships in Halmstad, Sweden. While the men have won only one out of three, the women have lost all four of their matches till now.World No 48 and India's most experienced paddler A Sharath Kamal has been the only consistent performer so far. In the opener against France, he managed to beat two players in the top-30 — Emmanuel Lebesson (28) and Simon Gauzy (10).
India lost that encounter 2-3 because of a lack of support from other members of the contingent. In the second match where they beat Poland 3-2, the 35-year-old again won both of his match-ups. India fielded their second team against South Korea and got hammered 3-0. In their Group D match against lowly Croatia, India had managed to come back and level the tie 2-2 at the time of going to press.
Sharath had a great chance to beat World No 39 Andrej Gacina, but lost his way. G Sathiyan could not find a way past Pucar Tomislav. Harmeet Desai won his clash and Sathiyan managed to outwit Gacina. What has been most disappointing has been the way the women, Commonwealth Games gold medallists, have performed. While nothing was expected from them in their opening clash against World No 1 China, they were then upset 1-3 by hosts Sweden, who are almost nine places below them.
Against CWG finalists Singapore, they again came a cropper, getting beat 3-0. The biggest letdown has been CWG gold medallist Manika Batra's performances. A lot was riding on the World No 58. She has lost all of her singles matches so far, going down to 138th-ranked Linda Bergstrom (Sweden) and World No 209 Bogdanova Nadezhda (Belarus) in the process.The women are last in Group A while the men are fourth. The women will take on Russia late on Tuesday while the men are left with Austria on Wednesday.