Indian teams bow out of Asian Table Tennis Championships

While the men’s team managed to reach the Champion Division, the women contingent failed to go past the Division I.

By Swapnil Bhopatkar ·

Following a strong statement on the opening day of the 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the Indian contingent experienced contrasting results on Monday as the men’s team progressed to the Champion Division only to lose out to a strong Japanese challenge.

The women’s team, on the other hand, failed to even go past the first division.

A hard-fought battle

After dismantling Kuwait and Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament, the men’s team got the better of Saudi Arabia 3-1 in the quarter-final of Division 1.

The likes of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran didn’t have to break a sweat in their respective ties, but Harmeet Desai went down against Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi after putting up a good fight. Gnanasekaran eventually put the game to bed to set up a semi-final clash against Thailand.

Harmeet Desai was selected for the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2019.

Although a 3-0 victory over Thailand seems like an easy route, the Thai paddlers gave the Indians a run for their money. Facing Padasak Tanviriyavechakul, veteran Sharath Kamal was forced to stretch his match to five games. A hard-fought 3-2 (11-6, 6-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-2) win, however, set India on a positive note.

26-year-old Gnanasekaran took on Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon, and a 3-1 win (9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-1) further put India in a comfortable position. Harmeet Desai did the rest by defeating Yanapong Panagitgun 3-2 (11-3, 9-11, 5-11, 13-11, 13-11), as India cruised to the quarter-finals of the Champion Division.

As a stern Japanese test awaited, the Indian paddlers stumbled in their conquest. Losing out 1-3, only Gnanasekaran – who defeated Tomokazu Harimoto in the opening tie – showed promise while the rest disappointed.

The experienced Kamal put up a fight, but Maharu Yoshimura did enough to bring Japan back into the game with an 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 14-12 win. Desai, too, showed some promise, but Takuya Jin was simply too hot to handle. Harimoto hammered the final nail in India’s coffin by registering a one-sided 11-7, 11-0, 11-0 victory over Kamal.

Archana Kamath in action at the Asian TT Championships.

Women bow out

Following a clean sweep against Lebanon and Jordan on Monday, the Indian women’s team extended their winning run by defeating Uzbekistan 3-0 in the quarter-final of Division 1 to set up a semi-final against Thailand.

Unlike the men, the women’s team defeated the Uzbeks with ease. The rout started with Archana Kamath getting the better of Rimma Gufranova in straight games 11-8, 11-4, 11-6. Manika Batra continued from there to beat Regina Kim 11-3, 11-1, 11-6. Ayhika Mukherjee, meanwhile, did the rest as India went through to face Thailand in the semi-final.

A lowly performance against the Thai team (0-3) resulted in India bowing out of the tournament.