Gold for Sharath & Co at Gold Coast
New Delhi, April 9: Indian paddlers proved yet again their special liking for Australia as the men squad, following the footsteps of their women, decimated Nigeria 3-0 to bag their second team gold medal at the ongoing CWG at Gold Coast today.
Indian trio of A. Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai proved too hot for the Nigerians, particularly in the absence of Aruna Quadri, who is indisposed.
Sharath, despite being caught on a wrong foot in the first game, gave a winning start when he accounted for Bode Abiodun 4-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9. Then Sathiyan, taking on the most experienced Nigerian Segun Toriola, came into his own self and put India 2-0 up with a 10-12, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4 triumph.
Surcharged as he was after the second rubber victory, Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai put it across the Nigerian duo of Olajide Omotayo and Bode Abiodun in straight games of 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 to step on top of the podium.
“I made mistakes while receiving service from Bode (Abiodun). He played the first game so well. I changed my strategy from the second game and served more to his backhand, not middle and forehand. I made sure I was the first one to attack. I think we were lucky, it was good we didn’t play Nigeria in the morning and of course we were fortunate Quadri Aruna did not play,” said Sharath.
Sathiyan, who came back brilliantly against Toriola, admitted to losing concentration after leading 10-6 in the first game. “But I was very confident. I moved well and quick to attack because I couldn’t afford giving him time to play his strokes. As for doubles, Harmeet and I played strong from the very first point and it became easy in the end,” he said.
Earlier in the day, India edged out defending champions Singapore 3-2 with Sharath Kamal playing his role to perfection, winning both his singles matches.
This was the second men team gold for India after Melbourne in 2006 when Sharath led the charge. Incidentally, India joined England, who had to satisfy with the bronze, as the most CWG gold medal winning nation in the history of CWG table tennis—five in all.
Yet, Gold Coast proved to be even better than Melbourne as this was the first that both the men and women teams won gold medals.