A 40-year-old Achanta Sharath Kamal and 24-year-old Sreeja Akula combined like well-oiled machines to win the gold medal in the table tennis mixed doubles category at the ongoing Commonwealth Games 2022 (CWG 2022) in Birmingham.
Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula beat the Malaysian pair of Javen Choong and Karen Lyne 3-1 (11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6) on Sunday (August 7) to finish first on the podium.
Sharath and Sreeja were at their best during the match as they made sure the Malaysians had no room for any comeback. The Indian duo started strong and the first game was a breeze with Sharath and Sreeja triumphing 11-4.
What the Indians did was seize the advantage early and keep building on it. Both Sharath and Sreeja complemented each other well in their game and never allowed the Malaysian pair to read them well.
The second game saw the Malaysian paddlers putting up a tough fight and making a stunning comeback, winning 11-9.
However, the duo were not bogged down by going back on level terms. Sharath and Sreeja played some aggressive shots and upped the ante. Their attack and defense were equally sharp and they made short work of the Malaysian pair to win the third game 11-5 and go 2-1 up.
Malaysia, needing to win the fourth game, tried to stay in the hunt but the Indians were wary enough not to give the Malaysians any opening. Sharath Kamal and Sreeja were agile and placed their shots to perfection as they clinched the fourth game and won the gold medal with relative ease.
Fans congratulate Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula
Fans took to social media to congratulate the Indian duo. It was Sharath Kamal's first mixed doubles gold medal in his fifth Commonwealth Games appearance.
Here are some of the reactions: