India lost to second seeds Korea in the semi-finals of the men’s table tennis team event to finish with a historic bronze medal at the 18th Asian Games on Tuesday.
This is the first table tennis medal for India at the Asian Games. Before this, India did not have a single medal in the sport which was introduced in the Games program in 1958. The likes of China (61 gold), Japan (20) and South Korea (10) swept the medals for long time.
In the semi-final, the much fancied Korean team proved to be too good for India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Achanta Sharath Kamal and Anthony Amalraj, who put up a good fight before going down 0-3.
Sathiyan started well, taking the first game against Sangsu Lee. He was put under pressure in the second part of the first game but showed some lovely deception in his shots to take the lead and give India a rousing start. From there, the world No 6 started taking control and gave Korea the 1-0 lead.
Sharath was then up against world No 26 Young Sik Jeoung and he fought back from 0-2 down to take the game to decider but lost in five games.
India fielded the experienced Amalraj in the third match instead of Harmeet Desai but he went down in four games to Woojin Jang.
Scores of the matches in the semi-final tie:
Lee vs Sathiyan: 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-3
Sharath vs Jeoung: 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 8-11
Amalraj vs Jang: 5-11, 7-11, 11-4, 7-11