World Team Table Tennis Championships 2018: Indian men finish 13th, stay in Championships Division
A round-up on India's performance at this prestigious tournament
The Indian men’s team beat Romania 3-1 to finish 13th at the World Team Table Tennis Championships 2018 held in Halmstad, Sweden on Saturday. Former Commonwealth Games champion Sharath Kamal Achanta was the hero of the day for India, securing two wins, and Harmeet Desai pitched in with the third.
India started off the tie on a losing note with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran going down 6-11, 4-11, 8-11 to World No. 57 Ovidiu Ionescu. Sharath Kamal then came to the rescue and comfortably beat the 66th ranked Hunor Szocs 11-5, 11-9, 11-7.
Desai too had it easy against the World No. 250 Cristian Pletea. The 74th ranked Indian showed tremendous poise and ball striking to notch up an 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 win.
In the fourth rubber, Sharath Kamal rebounded from losing the first game and won the next three for an 11-13, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 victory over Ovidiu.
With this result in the 13-16 places classification match, the Indian men ensured than they remain in the Championship Division in 2020.
This was India’s third win on the trot in the 13-24 places classification category after narrowly losing out on a place in the top 12. India led Austria 2-0 in their final Group D encounter and seemed to be on their way to entering the knock-out stages.
From there, they were edged 2-3 as the Austrians managed to make a stunning comeback to dash all hopes of Sharath Kamal and Co. India came back from it strongly to beat Singapore 3-0, France 3-2 and then Romania.
In the group stage, India prevailed over Poland and Croatia by an identical score of 3-2 while losing to France and Austria 2-3 and to Korea 0-3.
Massimo Costantini’s men can hold their heads high after a commendable display on their debut in the Championship Division. The 35-year-old Sharath Kamal was the star of the show, having grabbed 10 wins out of the 13 matches that he played.
Earlier, the Indian women's team had ended their campaign in the 17th place. Both the teams had come to this tournament on the back of a historic gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.