Cuttack, July 18:
Hosts India made a bright start to their campaign at the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, topping their groups to qualify for the Super Eight stage in both men’s and women’s team events here Wednesday.
The domination of Indian paddlers was such that they lost just two games — one by Achanta Sharath Kamal against Singapore’s Zheyu Clarence Chew in the men’s event and another by Ayhika Mukherjee against Chamathsara Fernando of Sri Lanka in the women’s category.
The team management kept faith in the threesome of Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai, who did their job pretty well to first beat Scotland 3-0 and then follow it up with a similar verdict against Singapore.
In the women’s event, India tried out their bench strength with different combinations in the two group matches.
Manika Batra and Ayhika Mukherjee, who played against Sri Lanka posting a 3-0 triumph in the company of Archana Kamath, were rested for the match against South Africa.
Instead, Madurika Patkar and Sutirtha Mukherjee were tried out with Archana and they didn”t disappoint, posting yet another 3-0 victory over South Africa.
The 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships was formally declared open by Odisha Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal at a spectacular ceremony at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
The opening ceremony commenced with musical band performance and the customary marching of the 12 contingents followed by speeches delivered by eminent dignitaries and release of a special postal cover for the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships.
Declaring the Championships open, Prof Ganeshi Lal said “Odisha has already proved that it is the “Sports Capital of India” and we should be proud that we could host this international table tennis tournament.” “In future also we will be welcoming the world to other such games of repute. A sporting environment has been created here in the state and in the Land of Lord Jagannath, no matter which team wins or loses, the tournament should retain a sporting spirit,” he said.
Results (Team championships/Preliminary): Women: Group A: Singapore beat Scotland 3-0; Singapore beat Wales 3-0.
Group B: India beat Sri Lanka 3-0 (Manika Batra beat Bimandi Bandara 11-5 11-4 11-5; Archana Kamath beat Ishara Madurangi 11-5 11-5 12-10; Ayhika Mukherjee beat Chamathsara Fernando 11-3 11-3 8-11 11-4); India beat South Africa 3-0 (Archana Kamath beat Danisha Patel 11-6 11-2 11-2; Madhurika Patkar beat Palesa Mtshoelibe 11-2 11-5 11-3; Sutirtha Mukherjee beat Simeen Mookrey 11-1 11-4 11-4).
Group C: Australia beat Cyprus 3-0; Malaysia beat Australia 3-1.
Group D: Nigeria beat Bangladesh 3-0; England beat Nigeria 3-1.
Men: Group A: England beat Cyprus 3-0; England beat Sri Lanka 3-0.
Group B: India beat Scotland 3-0 (G Sathiyan beat Niall Cameron 11-4 11-7 11-8; Achanta Sharath Kamal beatt Colin Dalgleish 11-2 11-6 11-9; Harmeet Desai beat Dylan Curry 11-2 11-6 11-1); India beat Singapore 3-0 (G Sathiyan beat Yu En Koen Pang 11-7 11-9 11-8; Achanta Sharath Kamal beat Zheyu Clarence Chew 8-11 11-5 11-4 11-9; Harmeet Desai beat Shao Han Josh 11-4 11-7 11-6).
Group C: Nigeria beat Bangladesh 3-0.
Group D: Australia beat Wales 3-0; Australia beat South Africa 3-0.