India clinched a historic gold in men's table tennis, thrashing Nigeria 3-0 in the final of the event at the 21st Commonwealth Games here on Monday.
India clinched a historic gold in men’s table tennis, thrashing Nigeria 3-0 in the final of the event at the 21st Commonwealth Games here on Monday. After beating Singapore in the semi-finals earlier on Monday, the Indian team continued their dominance in the final, by winning all the first three matches to comfortably clinch the gold. Seasoned paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal gave India an early 1-0 lead with a thumping 4-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 comeback win over Bode Abiodun in the first singles match of the contest.
After going down meekly in the first game, Kamal brought all his experience into play and went on to thrash the Nigerian in three successive games to pocket the tie. Kamal opened up a 7-5 lead in the second game before comfortably pocketing it to level things up. The third game witnessed the Indian retrieving the ball from some unbelievable angles to open up a 8-4 lead and eventually ending up 11-4.
In the fourth game, Bode fought back well to square off things at 4-4 but Kamal pulled off some incredible retrievals to close it at 11-9, giving India the 1-0 lead. India’s top-ranked singles player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran then doubled the lead with another come-from-behind victory over Segun Toriola 10-12, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4.
The first game of the match went down to the wire with both the paddlers going neck and neck before the Nigerian sneaked past to take a slender 1-0 lead. Thereafter, Sathiyan came back strongly to demolish Segun’s prospects in the second game and went on to dominate the Nigerian in the third and fourth games too as India’s lead swelled to 2-0.
With India in the driver’s seat, Nigeria hoped for a turnaround in fortunes in the do-or-die third rubber, the men’s doubles tie. Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai were assigned with the doubles tie and the duo rather had a comfortable 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 win against Omotayo Olajide and Abiodun Bode.
In the first game, the Indian pair opened up with a 4-0 lead and kept things tight to pocket it comfortably. Harmeet and Sathiyan looked in complete control in the second game as well, and stifled the Nigerians to score freely. High on confidence, the Indian duo hardly lost a sweat to pocket the third game, leading to loud celebrations from the Indian camp on clinching the historic gold.
With the loss, Nigeria bagged the silver while England settled for the bronze after defeating Singapore. This is India’s second gold medal in table tennis team event after the women’s team claimed the yellow medal by drubbing highly-fancied Singapore on Sunday.