Kolkata: Achanta Sharath Kamal battled poor health and gutsy resistance from his PSPB colleague Soumyadeep Roy before prevailing 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 to record his fifth straight and sixth overall national singles title at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, here today.
The women’s singles title was won by K Shamini who brushed aside Mamta Prabhu winning 4-1.
However the 1000-odd spectators present at the Netaji Indoor Stadium witnessed one of the best summit clashes of recent times where India’s best-ever paddler clashed with the current No.1. Sharath has now eclipsed former national champion Kamlesh Mehta’s record of winning four consecutive national titles from 1985-88.
However Sharath is still two titles short Kamlesh’s record eight national singles titles.
Roy, who was in the title round after nine years dished out one of his most memorable performances of late as he bounced back from one set deficit to take a 3-1 lead and came close to winning back the national crown.
But in a true show of his resilience, Sharath showed why he is the best of the country as he fought back from being 1-3 down win Maharaja Pithapuram Cup for the sixth time.
Sharath won the first game 11-9 but that didn’t ensure a smooth sailing for as Roy, cheered on by his fiancee Poulami Ghatak and partisan crowd made a stunning comeback to take the next three games.
Roy made it 1-1 taking the second set 11-7. Roy took a 2-1 lead winning the third by an identical scoreline.