Sharath wins gold, Madhurika upsets Shamini to lift TT title
Ranchi: Achanta Sharath Kamal and Madhurika Patkar on Sunday completed hat-trick of titles in table tennis by clinching gold in men`s and women`s singles respectively on the concluding day of the 34th National Games.
Sharath Kamal clinched the men`s singles title without much fuss, while Madhurika Patkar stunned national champion Shamini Kumaresan for the women`s singles gold.
Having won the team gold for Tamil Nadu and mixed doubles title with Shamini, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sharath did not have to break sweat as he thrash Bengal`s Anirban Nandi 4-0 in a 16-minute contest.
Maharashtra girl Madhurika, on the other hand, faced stiff resistance from the Tamil Nadu`s Shamini before wrapping up the tie 4-3 in the first final of the day.
Madhurika had earlier won the doubles gold partnering with Pooja Sahasrabudhe and the team title.
Playing in front of an empty Thakur Vishwanath Shahdeo Indoor Stadium in Mega Sports Complex, Sharath Kamal did not give any chance to Nandi to settle down even as the Bengal lad was trying hard to keep his serve.
Dishing out powerful cuts and back-hand display and using top-spin smartly, Sharath Kamal came back from being 3-4 down to take the first set 11-5.
He conceded nine points in the second set but there was no let-up from the Indian table tennis sensation as he clinched it 11-9 in no time to go up 2-0 in the tie.
In the third set, he was more ruthless as he took a 5-0 lead before winning it 11-6. He settled the issue in the fourth set where he returned strongly from 0-3 down to make it 11-6.
Sharath Kamal thus capped a memorable performance as these were his first National Games medals from his three outings -- first two in 2001 and 2002.
Madhurika, however, had a tough contest as Shamini, who won the senior Nationals in Kolkata recently, did not give up easily stretching the women`s final to a marathon seven-setter.
Having taken the lead after winning the first set 11-5, Madhurika lost 6-11 in the second while in the third and fourth she had to sweat past the Tamil Nadu girl, with scores of 12-10, 12-10.
But a never-say-die Shamini made a spirited comeback as she snatched a 3-2 lead after winning the fifth and sixth sets 13-11, 12-8.
In the decider Madhurika, however, showed tremendous character as she conceded only two points to clinch it 11-2.
Tamil Nadu topped the table tennis medals tally with three gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
Maharashtra had an equal number of three gold medals but they had to be content with second position as they won one silver and one bronze.
Capping a forgetful performance, star-studded Bengal had to be content with one gold, three silver and eight bronze medals to finish at third place.
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