Hosts India made a bright start to their campaign at the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, topping their groups to qualify for the super eight stage in both men’s and women’s team events at Cuttack on Wednesday.
The domination of Indian paddlers was such that they lost just two games – one by Achanta Sharath Kamal against Singapore’s Zheyu Clarence Chew in the men’s event and another by Ayhika Mukherjee against Chamathsara Fernando of Sri Lanka in the women’s category.
The team management kept faith in the threesome of Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai, who did their job pretty well to first beat Scotland 3-0 and then follow it up with a similar verdict against Singapore.
In the women’s event, India tried out their bench strength with different combinations in the two group matches. Manika Batra and Ayhika Mukherjee, who played against Sri Lanka posting a 3-0 triumph in the company of Archana Kamath, were rested for the match against South Africa.
Instead, Madurika Patkar and Sutirtha Mukherjee were tried out with Archana and they didn’t disappoint, posting yet another 3-0 victory over South Africa.
The Singaporeans have brought a young women’s team, while England, just with experienced Samuel Walker in their ranks, is the team to beat as they are likely to meet Indian men in the knockout stage. Malaysia women stunned Australia, the group C topper, 3-1 in another match.
In a latest development, Uganda and Guyana have got their respective government’s nod and they would be sending their teams for participation in individual events.
According to a communication to Table Tennis Federation of India from the two federations, Uganda will be sending a five-member team while three from Guyana will compete in singles and doubles events, which gets underway from July 19 after the team finals.
Results (Team championships/Preliminary)
Group A: Singapore bt Scotland 3-0; Singapore bt Wales 3-0;
Group B: India bt Sri Lanka 3-0 (Manika Batra bt Bimandi Bandara 11-5, 11-4, 11-5; Archana Kamath bt Ishara Madurangi 11-5, 11-5, 12-10; Ayhika Mukherjee bt Chamathsara Fernando 11-3, 11-3, 8-11, 11-4); India bt South Africa 3-0 (Archana Kamath bt Danisha Patel 11-6, 11-2, 11-2; Madhurika Patkar bt Palesa Mtshoelibe 11-2, 11-5, 11-3; Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Simeen Mookrey 11-1, 11-4, 11-4)
Group C: Australia bt Cyprus 3-0; Malaysia bt Australia 3-1
Group D: Nigeria bt Bangladesh 3-0; England bt Nigeria 3-1.
Group A: England bt Cyprus 3-0; England bt Sri Lanka 3-0;
Group B: India bt Scotland 3-0 (G. Sathiyan bt Niall Cameron 11-4, 11-7, 11-8; A. Sharath Kamal bt Colin Dalgleish 11-2, 11-6, 11-9; Harmeet Desai bt Dylan Curry 11-2, 11-6, 11-1); India bt Singapore 3-0 (G. Sathiyan bt Yu En Koen Pang 11-7, 11-9, 11-8; A. Sharath Kamal bt Zheyu Clarence Chew 8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9; Harmeet Desai bt Shao Han Josh 11-4, 11-7, 11-6).
Group C: Nigeria bt Bangladesh 3-0.
Group D: Australia bt Wales 3-0; Australia bt South Africa 3-0.