Surat, Dec 21 (IANS) Anthony Amalraj failed to become only the second Indian after Achanta Sharath Kamal to win the men’s singles gold as he went down to Singapore’s Chen Feng 2-4 in the 20th Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships at the Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Indoor Stadium here on Monday. The women’s singles gold too went to Singapore when Zhou Yiyan beat Mouma Das 4-1. However, this was the best ever Indian showing in the championships as the hosts led the medals tally with three gold, five silver and seven bronze medals, including a gold and silver in team championships, for a total count of 16 medals. India’s highest tally hitherto was nine which the hosts had won in New Delhi two years ago.
Incidentally, Sharath’s was also the only individual medal in any championships and that came in 2004, besides leading the team to its first gold. Singapore finished behind India with four golds and a team bronze. England men ended with one silver and their women, a bronze while Northern Ireland men and the women from Wales shared a bronze each. Amalraj did well to come back but Chen’s strategy in Game 5 paid off. Playing a top-spin game and serving with a lot of backspin, he put Amalraj in all sorts of trouble as the game went neck and neck. No doubt, the Indian covered and used the angles well, sending in down-the-line strokes which surprised the Singaporean. There were good, fast top-spin rallies too from both. However, once he pocketed Game 5 on the second game point, he surged ahead with a 9-3 lead in the sixth and Amalraj could at best close in but never alter the course of the final. The women’s singles final went along the expected line. Mouma could not raise her game against the World No.46. After losing the first two games 7-11 and 5-11, the Indian gave a glimpse of return when she took the third. However, before Mouma could cause any further damage, Zhou went on the offensive which fetched her gold. Soumyajit Ghosh and Harmeet Desai won the men’s double gold, beating teammates G. Sathiyan and Devesh Karia 3-2. In women’s doubles, Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan of Singapore defeated Manika Batra and Ankita Das 3-0 without a whimper for the gold. Earlier, India won another bronze through Mouma Das and K. Shamini who lost 2-3 in the semifinals to Lin and Zhou.
Final results: Men’s singles: Chen Feng (SIN) bt Anthony Amalraj 4-2 (11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-7). Women’s singles: Zhou Yihan (SIN) bt Mouma Das 4-1 (11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2, 11-3); Semifinals: Zhou Yiyan (SIN) bt Manika Batra 4-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 11-5), Mouma Das bt Lin Ye (SIN) 4-3 (12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 1-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7). Men’s doubles: Soumyajit Ghosh/Harmeet Desai bt G. Sathiyan/Devesh Karia 3-2 (5-11, 11-.8, 10-12, 11-9, 11-3). Women’s doubles: Lin Ye/Zhou Yihan (SIN) bt Manika Batra/Ankita Das 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-9).
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