Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal. Pics/AFP
The Indian paddlers began their campaign at the Asian Games on a rousing note with both the men and women teams registering wins in their respective preliminary group matches here on Friday.
The men's team started off with a 3-0 victory over Yemen and then beat Singapore 3-1 in their second Group F tie.
In their first tie of the Games, veteran Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai made short work of their Yemenese opponents.
Sathiyan defeated Ali Omar Ahmed 11-3, 11-2, 11-6 in 14 minutes. Sharath, playing his last Asian Games, then beat Ebrahim Abdulhakim Mohamm Gubran 11-3, 11-4, 11-6, to double India's lead. Harmeet sealed the tie with an 11-1, 11-1, 11-7, win over Magd Ahmed Ali Aldhubhani.
In their second tie of the day against Singapore, Sathiyan beat Izaac Young Quek 5-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9, while Harmeet got past Yew En Koen Pang 12-10, 11-8, 6-11, 6-11, 11-5.
Sharath, however, lost to Zhe Yu Clarence Chew 11-13, 8-11, 12-10, 5-11. But Sathiyan beat Pang 11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6.The Indian women paddlers too had a good day as they defeated Singapore 3-2 in their opening Pool F fixture.
Ayhika Mukherjee lost 11-7, 2-11, 7-11, 10-12 to Jian Zeng.
But Manika Batra drew the scores level for India, defeating Jingyi Zhou 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 and then Sreeja Akula gave India the lead with a fighting 12-14, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 win over Xin Ru Wong.
Singapore took the tie into the decider when Batra lost 3-11, 11-3, 10-12, 12-10, 10-12 to Zeng. But Mukherjee ensured a positive start for the Indian women by a registering 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 over Zhou. While the Indian men will take on Tajikistan in their next group match, the women will be up against Nepal.
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