Another gold medal was in store for India in the table tennis event at the Commonwealth Games 2022. The team of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula came up with an impressive 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 win over Malaysian pair Javen Choong and Karen Lyne in the final in Birmingham. This was the first time India won gold in the mixed doubles event at any edition of the Games.
The 40-year-old had already won gold at this edition of the Games, when the Indians won the men’s team event final against Singapore. On Sunday though, he won his first-ever mixed doubles medal – a gold no less – at the marquee event.
But it wasn’t the first medal he won on the day, as the veteran partnered G Sathiyan to win silver in the men’s doubles event. The duo lost in a thrilling final 3-2 (11-8, 8-11, 3-11, 11-7, 4-11) to England’s Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford.
A short while later, Sharath was back on the show court, competing in the men’s singles semifinal. He came up against Drinkhall, but the veteran had seemingly sized up his opponent in the doubles match, and was prepared to match the Englishman in his home conditions. He eventually won that match 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8 to make it to the singles final for the first time since Melbourne 2006, when he won gold.
Sathiyan and Pitchford met in the second singles semifinal, but it was not to be an all-Indian final, as the English player came up with a strong 11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 win.
A long day in table tennis for the Indians however started with Akula taking to court to play the women’s singles bronze medal match. She came up against Australia’s Yangzi Liu, ranked 72 in the world (for spots above Akula).
But it wasn’t to be for Akula, as her 20-year-old opponent came up with a hard-fought 3-11, 11-6, 11-2, 7-11, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7 win to take the bronze and deny the Indian a spot on the podium.
The Indians are still in contention for two more medals. Sathiyan will compete against Drinkhall in the bronze medal match. Meanwhile a medal is confirmed for Sharath, but he will aim for the yellow metal when he faces Pitchford on Monday.