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Indian women finish runners-up in First Division



Busan, July 3: Indian women’s team secured runners-up position in the first division of the team championships after they went down to Malaysia 1-3 at the Asian Table Tennis Championships at Busan on Tuesday evening.


It was a tough outing for the women paddlers against seasoned Malaysians as the Indian team, comprising Mouma Das, K. Shamini, Neha Aggarwal, did not have an easy start. After Mouma lost to NG Sock Khim 4-11, 10-12, 4-11, Shamini could not match the guiles of Beh Lee Wei who accounted for the national champion 11-7, 11-6, 11-5. But Neha gave a semblance of hope when she defeated Ting Hie Phim in straight games of 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 as the Delhi girl put up a brave front against the Malaysian.


It was left to Shamini to up the ante but the Indian went down yet again to Khim, but not before taking a game off the Malaysian. The latter won 11-7, 13-15, 11-6, 11-6. Thus the Indians finished eighth in the team championships with the title going to the rampaging Chinese, who beat Hong Kong 3-0.


Earlier, the Indian women topped group G, accounting for Nepal 3-0, beat Iran 3-0 in round three to enter stage II of the championships. There they defeated Thailand 3-0 to enter the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, they ran into the eventual winner China and lost 0-3 with Mouma Das exceptionally doing well by stretching Liu Shiwen to four games.


In 5-8 positional matches, the Indians lost to Chinese Taipei 0-3 and Neha Aggarwal yet again showing her fighting qualities. She just about managed to stretch her Taipei rival Lee I-Chen to four games but the Indians collectively could not put it across the Taipei’s better-ranked girls.


This brought them face to face with Malaysia but on the night the latter proved too powerful. Coach Bhawani Mukherjee did admit the Indian girls had miles to go but he was not all that upset about the result. “I agree their opponents were too superior, but finishing among the top eight Asian teams was a good sign. Neha and Mouma played exceptionally well. I am satisfied with their preparation,” he said.