India’s Archana Girish Kamath lost to Romania’s Andreea Dragoman in the women’s singles table tennis bronze medal playoff at the ongoing Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.
The Indian, was the first Indian paddler to reach the semi-final of the Youth Olympics, lost 11-8, 11-13, 9-11, 5-11, 9-11 and finished fourth as a result.
The match started off well for Archana who showed the grit and spunk that has defined her brilliant run at the Games in the opening game and took a 1-0 lead. She raced into a 5-1 lead in the second game as well and it seemed all the early momentum was with her with Andreea coming to terms with the pace of the Indian.
But the Romanian upped the ante from that point on and saved two game points to take the second game 13-11. From being on the verge of going up 2-0 ahead, Archana was suddenly back to square one and the momentum had shifted. She was facing five game points in game three and saved four of them but Andreea called for a time-out and came back to wrap it up and take 3-1 lead. Andreea then made the momentum count and took the fourth game in quick time.
Faced with the daunting task of winning all three games from thereon, Archana composed herself and got into a 5-3 lead in the fifth and later fought back to make it 9-9 from 7-9 down. But unfortunately, the game ended on a service fault from the Indian’s paddle.
Earlier, in the semi-final, Archana lost 1-4 after valiantly trying to unravel the second seed from China, Yingsha Sun, in a tense encounter. The 18-year-old from Karnataka had created history in the morning, becoming the first Indian ever to enter the semifinals of the Youth Olympics. She defeated Azerbaijan’s Ning Jing 4-3 to achieve this amazing feat.
Archana had her opportunity in the fourth game, when she raced away to 5-0 lead and literally toyed with Yingsha to win it 11-1. But her loss in the first three games at 3, 7 and 6 had left her a mountain to climb.
She fought valiantly in the fifth game, which proved to be the decider, but Yingsha had recovered her poise to unleash a series of winners.
In other late event on Wednesday, Lakshya Sen sealed his passaged through to the semifinal in men’s singles badminton. He needed 46 minutes to defeat Indonesia’s Ikhsan Rumbay 21-17, 21-19 and will face Japan’s Kodai Naraoka in the last four on Thursday.