From Our Correspondent
SHILLONG, Feb 9: The Indian pairing of Anthony Amalraj and Manika Batra claimed the mixed doubles gold medal in the table tennis individual events at the 12th South Asian Games 2016 here today.
Amalraj and Batra, both tiol singles champions in men's and women's table tennis respectively, overcame fellow Indians G Sathiyan and Mouma Das 3 games to 2 (11-5, 4-11, 11-5, 6-11, 12-10) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Sports Hall in a gruelling contest that saw both pairs go all out for the gold. It was the best display of table tennis so far with the sizeable crowd present enthralled by the action.
With India's victories in the men's and women's team events on Sunday, the hosts' tally of gold medals in table tennis increased to three.
There's promise of more of the yellow metal tomorrow, with India securing each and every place in the fils of the men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles and women's doubles, which will all be contested tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, Sathiyan/Das had defeated Udaya Rasinghe and Ruvini Kanngura of Sri Lanka 3-1 in the semifils, while Amalraj/Batra got past Rohan Sirise and Ishara Madhurangi (Sri Lanka) by the same margin. Sri Lanka thus claimed two bronze medals for finishing as losing semifilists.
Meanwhile, in the men's doubles, Amalraj and Sanil Shetty will take on Indian compatriots Sathiyan and Devesh Karia. Both pairs had defeated Sri Lankan opponents in the semis 3-0.
The women's doubles fil will be between Das/K Shamini and Batra/Pooja Sahasrabudhe. While the latter pair had beaten Madhurangi and Erandi Warusawitha of Sri Lanka 3-0 in their last-four encounter, Das/Shamini defeated bita Shrestha and Eli Maharjan of Nepal by the same margin.
The men's singles fil will be between Amalraj and Sathiyan, while Batra and Das will vie for the women's singles gold. All four had defeated Sri Lankan opponents in the semifils, demarcating clearly that though India is the best table tennis team, Sri Lanka were undoubtedly second.
While it was all smiles in the Indian camp, there was still good morale among the Lankans even after they bowed out of contention for spots in the fils. Prior to the start of the TT events, Sri Lankan mager Commander Anil Bowatte said that his contingent had hopes of an upset, a hope that ultimately did not come through, though he expressed happiness with the way his players performed.