Table Tennis has never been a very strong forte for India. It has always been a game that has been dominated at the Asian and world level by China. Nevertheless, things improved for the better with the rise of players like Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra. This improvement came in the dual form of tenacity and skill level. The same was showcased by our table tennis superstars at the Asian Table Tennis Championship.
India settled for a bronze medal in the men’s team event at the 26th ITTF-Asian Table Tennis Championships 2023 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The Indian men’s team lost 0-3 to Chinese Taipei in the semifinals on Wednesday. However, the women’s team was knocked out of the Championships in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Monday.
What was the overall performance?
Youngster Manav Thakkar lost to world number three Ma Long of China in straight sets of men’s singles pre-quarterfinals. World number 100 Manav lost in straight sets with a score of 9-11, 10-12, 5-11. World number 170 Ayhika Mukherjee stretched the Olympic bronze medallist Chen Xingtong of China to five games, before going down in the women’s singles round of 32. Sutirtha Mukherjee lost to Orawan Paranang of Thailand in straight sets.
In the men’s doubles, Thakkar and Manush Shah lost to the formidable Chinese pair of Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan. Likewise, Ayhika and Sutirtha also bowed down to the pressure of Wang Manyu and Chen Meng.
What was the bronze medalist team?
Indian men’s team cruised to the semifinals and won the bronze medal. The men’s team, featuring Achanta Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai, pummeled Singapore 3-0 to confirm its semifinal berth. This victory also assured India of a medal. The final medal-winning hope was youngster Manav Thakkar. However, the youngster lost his match against Ma Long of China. Nevertheless, the youngster from India gave a tough fight in the first two sets. Overall, this is India’s fifth medal in the championships since 1972. India won four bronze medals earlier – three of them won by the Indian men at the last edition in 2021.
The Indian paddlers return from the continental event with a solitary bronze medal secured in the men’s team event. Now, the next event will be to qualify for the Paris Olympics 2024. With the scintillating form that India’s paddlers are in, India can now put realistic bets to challenge China in the Olympics. To bolster this preparation, Sports Authorities of India (SAI) have set up a national camp in Bangalore.
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