New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Seasoned paddler Sharath Kamal, who was part of the gold medal-winning Indian men’s team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, has hailed the women’s team for upsetting powerhouse Singapore to clinch the yellow medal.
In an email interview to IANS, Sharath rated the performance of the women’s team as “phenomenal” which stunned defending champions Singapore 3-1 in the gruelling final.
“While we were the favourites to win this gold medal in men’s team, the women’s team were underdogs against the mighty Singapore women’s team who are world no.4,” he said.
Sharath also lauded the contribution of young Manika Batra, who kept her cool to upset World No. 4 Tianwei Feng 3-2 (11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7) in the first singles tie.
In the next singles rubber, Madhurika Patkar failed to carry on with the momentum, losing 1-2 (11-13, 2-11, 6-11) to Mengyu Yu, as Singapore manage to level the tie at 1-1.
Madhurika then returned in action alongside the experienced Mouma Das to outplay Mengyu Yu and Yihan Zhou 3-1 (11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7) before Manika returned to beat World No.100 Yihan Zhou 3-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-7) and help India clinch the yellow medal.
“Manika’s contribution to the team was phenomenal beating world no.4 in her first singles and also another top player in her second single,” he said.
“The victory in doubles by Mouma (Das) and Madhurika (Patkar) added a lot of pressure on the Singaporeans while Manika finished in style in her last match to win the gold medal,” he added.
Sharath also praised the Ultimnate Table Tennis (UTT) for lifting the standard of table tennis in the country and expected the league to help Indian paddlers to win Olympic medals in the near future.
“UTT and 11 sports have been doing a great job in improving the standard of table tennis in Indian at different level which starts from grassroot level and goes up to the top-most level in the world with UTT having some of the best players of the world,” he said.
“This is the second season coming up in June for UTT and already there has been a great impact on Indian table tennis but I believe that by another 3 to 4 years from now, we would get the maximum benefit from the league which could help us get Olympic medals,” he added.