CUTTACK: It was a clean sweep for India as the hosts made the most of home advantage and grabbed all the gold medals on offer — seven to be precise — in the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships which concluded at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack on Monday.
The domination of Indian paddlers at the championships could be gauged from the fact that all finals on Monday featured only Indians, making it more of a national event than an international one. In the final analysis, India won seven gold—the best ever haul—five silver and three bronze medals to be the table toppers.
India’s top-ranked paddler G Sathiyan was expected to lead the individual medal tally but could not surmount the rampaging Harmeet Desai as he faltered in the men’s singles summit clash. The 26-year-old Harmeet had earlier brought India back from the brink to help the country win team gold. Harmeet deserved to win the title after fighting back from 0-2 down. He brought out his A-game in a crunch situation to outwit Sathiyan.
Earlier, Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal failed to counter the fury of Anthony Amalraj and Manav Thakkar who claimed the men’s doubles gold, downing the top pair 3-1. The pairs had banished Singapore and England in the semifinals.
In women’s singles, Ayhika Mukherjee won her maiden gold in the championships when she blanked Madurika Patkar 4-0. In women’s doubles, Pooja Sahasrabudhe and Krittwika Sinha Roy defeated the other Indian pair of Sreeja Akula and Mousumi Paul 3-1. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gave away the prizes at the end of the competition.