Indian men`s TT team draws blank for first time at Commonwealth Games
Glasgow: Indian men`s table tennis team failed to secure a medal for the first time at the Commonwealth Games after being stunned 1-3 by Nigeria in the bronze medal play-off at the Scotstoun Sports Campus here on Monday.
India, who suffered a heartbreaking 1-3 loss against England in the semifinals last night, were found listless against a defiant Nigerian outfit.
The unexpected loss meant Indian men will return empty handed from the team event for the first time since the sport`s introduction in the Games at Manchester in 2002.
India`s foreign coach Peter Engel had expected the paddlers to win at least three medals in Glasgow but that prospect looks unlikely with a blank in team events.
India won a record five medals in Delhi four years ago.
World No. 44 Sharath Kamal gave India a good start by getting past 153 ranked Segun Toriola 11-9 11-5 11-7 in the opening singles.
Games debutant Harmeet Desai was next up against Nigeria number one Aruna Quadri.
But Desai, who nearly pulled off a sensational comeback win against England`s World No.59 Liam Pitchford last night, was not as impressive against Quadri.
The Nigerian proved too good for the 21-year-old Indian, dispatching him 11-7 11-8 9-11 11-5.
The doubles rubber, making its debut at the Games, too went Nigeria`s way. The combine of Ojo Onaolapo and Toriola edged out Anthony Amalraj and Desai 3-11 11-9 11-5 9-11 11-9 for a 2-1 lead in the match.
Sharath, a three-time CWG gold-medallist, now needed to beat World No.358 Onaolapo to keep India alive in the contest. But that wasn`t to be as the celebrated paddler was left stunned by Onaolapo`s fearless play, losing 9-11 11-3 7-11 5-11.
"Sharath did not expect him (Onaolapo) to play so well. Sharath started slow and his opponent kept growing on confidence. Having said that, Sharath was far too passive. I am very disappointed with the loss," Engel told PTI.
The Indian women`s team, silver medallists in Delhi, too disappointed by losing to Australia in the bronze medal match yesterday.
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