Sharath wins gold, Madhurika upsets Shamini to lift TT title

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Tapan Mohanta

Ranchi, Feb 26 (PTI) Achanta Sharath Kamal and MadhurikaPatkar today completed hat-trick of titles in table tennis byclinching gold in men''s and women''s singles respectively onthe concluding day of the 34th National Games here.

Sharath Kamal clinched the men''s singles title withoutmuch fuss, while Madhurika Patkar stunned national championShamini Kumaresan for the women''s singles gold.

Having won the team gold for Tamil Nadu and mixed doublestitle with Shamini, the Commonwealth Games gold medallistSharath did not have to break sweat as he thrash Bengal''sAnirban Nandi 4-0 in a 16-minute contest.

Maharashtra girl Madhurika, on the other hand, facedstiff resistance from the Tamil Nadu''s Shamini before wrappingup the tie 4-3 in the first final of the day.

Madhurika had earlier won the doubles gold partneringwith Pooja Sahasrabudhe and the team title.

Playing in front of an empty Thakur Vishwanath ShahdeoIndoor Stadium in Mega Sports Complex, Sharath Kamal did notgive any chance to Nandi to settle down even as the Bengallad was trying hard to keep his serve.

Dishing out powerful cuts and back-hand display and usingtop-spin smartly, Sharath Kamal came back from being 3-4 downto take the first set 11-5.

He conceded nine points in the second set but there wasno let-up from the Indian table tennis sensation as heclinched 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 5-0lead before winning it 11-6. He settled the issue in thefourth set where he returned strongly from 0-3 down to make it11-6.

Sharath Kamal thus capped a memorable performance asthese were his first National Games medals from his threeoutings -- first two in 2001 and 2002.

Madhurika, however, had a tough contest as Shamini, whowon the senior Nationals in Kolkata recently, did not give upeasily stretching the women''s final to a marathonseven-setter.

Having taken the lead after winning the first set 11-5,Madhurika lost 6-11 in the second while in the third andfourth she had to sweat past the Tamil Nadu girl, with scoresof 12-10, 12-10.

But a never-say-die Shamini made a spirited comeback asshe snatched a 3-2 lead after winning the fifth and sixth sets13-11, 12-8.

In the decider Madhurika, however, showed tremendouscharacter as she conceded only two points to clinch it 11-2.

Tamil Nadu topped the table tennis medals tally withthree gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

Maharashtra had an equal number of three gold medals butthey had to be content with second position as they won onesilver and one bronze.

Capping a forgetful performance, star-studded Bengal hadto be content with one gold, three silver and eight bronzemedals to finish at third place.

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