Asian Games TT: Indian challenge ends as Sharath knocked outBy IANS
Thursday, November 18, 2010
GUANGZHOU - India’s challenge in the table tennis event at the 16th Asian Games here ended Thursday as Sharath Kamal and Anthony Amalraj lost in the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals.
The result was similar in the women’s singles with Shamini Kumaresan going down fighting to Japanese Sayaka Hirano 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11 in the last 16.
At the outset, the Indian hopes of getting past the initial stages were slim with the presence of world-class players from China, South Korea and Japan in the continental event.
World no.48 Sharath picked up a game against no.14 Oh Sang Eun of South Korea but lost 9-11, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 6-11. Korea proved India’s nemesis for the day as Sharath and Subhajit Saha were blanked 9-11, 6-11, 4-11 by Sang and Jungwoo Lee in the doubles pre-quarterfinals.
Amalraj, in his singles match, managed to push 11th-ranked Chih-Yuan Chang of Chinese Taipei in the second game but was defeated by the better player 6-11, 10-12, 5-11, 1-11.
In the women’s singles, Shamini showed how she has improved her game in the last six months, giving a tough fight to World no.9 Sayako but finally lost 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11. The Chennai-based paddler played a crucial role in India’s silver medal performance in the team event at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
The slew of defeats Thursday meant India still have a huge ground to cover if they are to win their first ever table tennis medal in Asian Games history.
“The team has improved by leaps and bounds in the last one year. We did well in Delhi. Players like Sharath and Shamini have risen through the ranks. The competition here is equivalent to what you get in Olympics. So, there is still a long way to go before India starts winning medals in the Asian Games,” India’s Italian coach Massimo Constantini told IANS.