Bright beginning for Indian paddlers

It was a good beginning for the Indian paddlers in the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, as both the men’s and women’s teams advanced to the second round of the tournament with minimum fuss here on Sunday.

They posted easy wins over less fancied oppositions.

The Indian men’s side did not have a great start as Anthony Amalraj (world ranked 150) was shocked by Australia’s David Powell, ranked 617, in the opening game. The 27-year-old Indian looked off colour and was comprehensively beaten 7-11, 8-11, 8-11.
Achantha Sharath Kamal (70) did not disappoint the home fans as he brushed aside the challenge of young Kane Townsend to level the rubber 1-1. The seasoned Indian then went on to win the reverse tie against Powell after current national champion Soumyajit Ghosh won his fixture, to seal the contest in India’s favour.

Ghosh looked in great touch as he overwhelmed Theo Cogill 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 to help wrap up the match 3-0.

The women paddlers first brushed aside minnows Sri Lanka 3-0 and then went on to beat Canada with a same margin in their group C matches, while the men’s team defeated Australia and South Africa to top group B and move into the next round.

In the women’s team event, Mouma Das (234) looked a little rusty at the start as she dropped the first game 13-15 to unseeded Sri Lanka’s Ishara Madurangi. The experienced Indian paddler, however, took the next three games to give India a 1-0 lead.  
K Shamini (275), in the second encounter, took her opponent lightly after winning the first game against Sri Lanka’s Nuwani Vithanage. The reigning national champion was made to work hard before eventually winning 11-7, 14-12, 11-8. In the final team fixture, local girl Neha Aggarwal (428) demolished Ridhmi Kara-danaarachchi 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 to open India’s account with a win.

In the match against Canada, K Shamini and Mouma Das defeated Yuen Sara and Shirley Fu in their respective matches to take India to the top of the group. The hosts got a walkover in the final fixture as Canada’s Mo Zhang, ranked 170, did not turn up for the championships. 

This time around the hosts’ first bet was Shamini who clinically breezed past Sara 11-5, 11-5, 11-7. Mouma lost a game in her contest against Fu after winning the first one. However, she won the next two games to give India a 2-0 lead and the contest.

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