Paddler Abhishek ensures bronze at Asian Youth Games
Nanjing (China): Teenager Abhishek Yadav ensured India of a bronze medal at the 2nd Asian Youth Games here after he got the better of Malaysia`s Dunley Foo to enter the semifinals of the men`s singles table tennis, here on Monday.
The Indian dispatched Foo 4-1 (11-6, 11-5, 15-13, 5-11, 18-16) in 41 minutes, which included two games that stretched every sinew of the left-handed Yadav.
He will now meet the top-seeded Chinese Zhendong Fan in a semifinal later this evening. The Chinese beat Taipei`s Chia-Hung Sun in straight games.
With no play-off, both the losing semi-finalists will be awarded bronze medals. Yadav has also been assured of a place in the next year`s Youth Olympics to be held here.
"I am completely drained out. Two big games, particularly the last one, sapped my energy. But I held my nerve to go past him (Foo)," said Yadav.
Yadav had the measure of his rival in the first two games, but in the third from 9-7 allowed the Malaysian come back and level the score first at 9-9. From there, the see-saw battle continued with none giving a quarter to the other.
For the first the Malaysian went 12-11 up before Yadav caught up with him to make 13-13. That was also the end of resistance from Foo as the Indian took the next two points to go 3-0 up.
However, the Malaysian took the fourth to keep himself in the match. Leading 6-4 in the fifth game, Yadav allowed Foo take charge. He surged ahead to 10-8 but Yadav on his serve equalled the score to breathe easy.
At 16-16, things seemed gloomy for the Indian as Foo was not only returning well but was catching his rival on the wrong foot. Then came the turning point as Yadav served and returned well to go up 17-16 and waited to cash in on Foo`s mistake when he served next to take the game and the match.
Team manager Jayesh Acharya was happy for Abhishek.
"It was a crucial game (fifth) and what impressed me was the way Abhishek won those crucial points," said Acharya.