Indian men paddlers win historic team gold, while women settle for silver at Commonwealth Championships in Surat

Surat: Indian men claimed the team championship beating England 3-1 while their women's squad had to satisfy themselves with the silver medal after losing to Singapore 1-3 in the final of the 20th AVADH Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships at the Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Indoor Stadium on Friday.

Soumyajit Ghosh
Soumyajit Ghosh 

Only second time
The Indian men paddlers have done it only for the second time in 20 editions of the championships, having won gold in 2004 in Malaysia under the leadership of Achanta Sharath Kamal, who went on to win his individual gold, too.

For the women, this was the fourth occasion to claim silver. They had won the white metal in 1975, 1983 and 1991. In the golden fight, England's David McBeath gave a scare to both Harmeet Desai and India when the Indian, after leading 2-0, went down 2-3 in what was a wonderful comeback by the Englishman.

But Soumyajit Ghosh beat Helshen Weerasinghe rather easily to level the score as the Sri Lankan origin player did not have any answer to the Indian's rapid play. Though Weerasinghe tried to borrow his teammate's line, it did not work against Soumyajit.

G Sathiyan, taking on England's weakest link Tom Jarvis, cruised in straight games to put India 2-1 up. The advantage cushion worked in favour of Soumyajit in his reverse singles against McBeath as he won 11-6, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8.

More medals assured
Meanwhile, India were assured of a silver and bronze medals in the mixed doubles event. Of the three Singapore and Indian pairs, the latter had a better percentage winning three quarterfinals.

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