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Indian paddlers create history, win Table Tennis gold

Written by: Staff
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Melbourne, Mar 20 (UNI) Amid nerve-wracking tension and high drama, India's men's Table Tennis team made history by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, pipping fancied Singapore 3-2 to earn their first ever Commonwealth Games gold here today.

Trailing 0-2, India staged an unprecedented comeback to win the next three matches in row and the grab the gold.

It was the final which went to wire and was a thriller all the way.

''It is a golden day for Indian Table Tennis,'' said team manager Dhanraj Choudhary as players went wild with joy.

Earlier in the day, Indian women had beaten Canada 3-2 to claim their first ever Games bronze medal. Singapore had the satisfaction of winning the gold in this event beating Australia 3-2.

Nobody gave a ghost of chance to India to win the gold and when Singapore won the first two matches, rout stared at their face. But for once, the paddlers did not give up and the trio of Subhajit Saha, Achanta Sharath Kamal and Soumyadeep Roy displayed tremendous grit and fighting qualitities as they clawed back into the tie and then snatched the gold.

It was the match that lovers of the game will remember for years to come and this gold is bound to give boost to the game back home.

''We played well. We knew we have no other way but to fight after losing first two matches and I am glad that we eventually succeded.

It was a great victory,'' said a visibly emotional Sharath Kamal.

''We never expected a gold but once we reached the final, we were determined to give our best shot and the rest is for everybody to see,'' he said.

Singapore's Zi Yang gave his side a dream start, routing Soumyadeep Roy in straight games 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 and Li Xiao Cai made it 2-0 as he overcame Sharath Kamal 3-2 (9-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7, 11-7).

Just as it looked as if Singapore will emerge a runaway winner, came the Indian fightback when Subhajit Saha overpowered Jason Ho 3-1 (10-12, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10) to reduce the gap.

Sharath Kamal then played the game of his life. The Indian battled it out against fancied Zi Yang and after exchanging leads twice, he clinched the issue in the crucuial fifth game to win the match 3-2 (5-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7) to draw parity.

In the decider, Soumyadeep Roy held his nerves at crucial moments to pull off a huge upset win against Li Xiao Cai 3-1 (11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6) to clinch the gold for the country.

UNI HSB AY RS1728

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