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Amalraj, Sutirtha emerge champs as India top chart

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Jammu, December 6: Anthony Amalraj defeated compatriot Harmeet Desai 4-3 to claim the men singles title, while Sutirtha Mukherjee downed Ayhika Mukherjee 4-2 for the women singles crown to make a clean sweep of gold medals and silver medals in the 13th SAF Games in Kathmandu today.

 

With today’s sweep, Indian paddlers have won the maximum medals on offer at the Games—seven gold and five silver medals—to lead the medal chart.

 

 

Amalraj and Harmeet pose after winning the medals

 

It was a difficult start for Amalraj, who was 0-3 down in the final before overcoming Harmeet, who has had a fantastic form, 6-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7. This was the finest comebacks in recent times for Amalraj, including on the domestic circuit. In fact, Harmeet had beaten Amalraj in the final of the Indonesian Open recently and the latter would have relished the gold won at Kathmandu after having avenged that loss.

 

Sutirtha, too, did not have an easy flow of things as began badly against Ayhika but soon after they won alternate games until Sutirtha pulled up her socks to take the last three games to push Ayhika to be satisfied with the silver. Sutirtha won 8-11, 11-8, 6-21, 11-4, 13-11, 11-8.

 

 

Sutirtha and Ayhika on the podium

 

Earlier, in the semifinals, top-seed Harmeet defeated Purushottam B of Nepal 11-5, 11-4, 11-1, 11-4 and Amalraj accounted for Santoo Shrestha 11-4, 12-10, 11-8, 11-2, also of Nepal. In women’s semifinals, Sutirtha and Ayhika beat their Sri Lankan opponents, Ishara Madurangi (11-7,11-4, 11-7, 11-5) and Erandi Dilushika (11-7, 11-9, 11-4, 11-5), also in straight games to stamp their authority.

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