Jakarta, Aug 29 (IANS) The Indian mixed doubles table tennis pair of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra bagged the first-ever bronze medal in the sport after going down in the semi-finals of the 18th Asian Games here on Wednesday.
Sharath-Manika were outplayed 4-1 (9-11, 5-11, 13-11, 4-11, 8-11) in 39 minutes by China’s Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha in the last-four clash.
Sharath and Manika, who defeated the North Korean pair of An Ji Song and Cha Hyo Sim 3-2 (4-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8) in 38 minutes in the quarter-finals, got India’s first doubles medal at the Asiad in the sport.
It was also India’s second TT medal in Asiad history. The first medal came in this edition with the men’s team winning a bronze medal.
“We came with a purpose winning a medal in men team event, But we will return home with two bronze medals. That too for the first time ever,” said an elated Sharath, who may have played his last Asian Games at 36.
Manika said on Twitter: Proud and Happy to have been tied up with @sharathkamal1 in the mixed doubles event and secured a great partnership to achieve a bronze for the country. It also feels great to be the only Indian female Asiad medalist in Table Tennis.”
Earlier in the day, Sharath-Manika hammered Malaysia’s Javen Choong and Karen Dick 3-0 (11-2, 11-5, 11-8) in the Round-of-32 before going past the South Korean pair of Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee with a 3-2 (11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4) victory in 38 minutes.
Another Indian pair, Anthony Amalraj and Madhurika Patkar, lost 1-3 (11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 4-11) to Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching in the pre-quarterfinals.
In the Round-of-32, Amalraj-Madhurika defeated Donny Aji and Lilis Indriani of Indonesia 3-1 (11-4, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9).