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Women padlers in knock-out stage
November 29, 2006 23:27 IST
The Indian women's team had mixed luck as they lost to North Korea 0-3 after winning the first match in the Group 'A' league of the table tennis competition at the Asian Games in Doha on Wednesday.
In their first match, India had thrashed Uzbekistan but could not repeat their performance against the formidable North Koreans and went down tamely.
However, as two teams from each pool qualify for the knock-out stage, India, by virtue of their victory over Uzbekistan, made it to that stage.
The North Koreans were simply unbeatable as their lead player Yong Kim Mi outlasted Mouma Das 11-2, 11-5, 11-9 in less then ten minutes.
Poulomi Ghatak also met the same fate, thrashed by Ryom Won Ok 2-11, 7-11, 7-11 to make it 2-0 for the winners.
However, it was unfancied Shamini Kumaresan who put up a good fight before bowing to Ko Un Gyong. The Chennai-based paddler went down fighting to Gyong 11-13, 9-11, 8-11.
Earlier, India started their campaign on a high note as they blanked Uzbekistan 3-0, to make sure of a berth in the knockout stage.
Sharath Kamal's effort in vain
Achanta Sharath Kamal's heroics notwithstanding, the Indian men's team started their campaign on a disastrous note, losing 1-3 to Japan in a Group 'A' league match of the table tennis competition in the Asian Games in Doha on Wednesday.
The loss reduced India's chances of making it to the knock-out stage, as they face formidable China in their next outing.
Yemen is the fourth team in the group. The top two teams from the group make it to the knock-out stage.
Commonwealth gold medallist Sharath Kamal gave India a rousing start when he downed Yo Kan in a four-game thriller that lasted over 25 minutes.
Kamal surprisingly took time to settle down and Yo took advantage of the situation to clinch the first game. However, the Indian rallied strongly to win the next three games.
The 24-year old Kamal then gave no quarter to Yo as he left his opponent bewildered with a flurry of strokes and repeatedly beat the Japanese with strong forehand shots. He won 12-14, 13-11, 11-9, 11-6 to give India a 1-0 lead.
But the two other Indians, Subhajit Saha and Soumyadeep Roy, could not emulate Kamal's good show and lost their matches tamely, thus surrendering the lead to Japan.
Subhajit lost to Jun Mizutani 4-11, 9-11, 10-12 in a one-sided encounter in which the Japanese relaxed his grip only in the later stages of the third game.
Jun was too swift and agile near the table. His shots left Subhajit stranded and the match ended without much ado.
Soumyadeep Saha was no better and threw in the towel without much fight as Kaii Yoshida romped home 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 in the 15-minute match.
In the crucial fourth match, Sharath Kamal and Jun Mizutani battled it out neck and neck, exchanging leads before the Japanese, showing better staying power and nerves, prevailed to give his side an invincible 3-1 lead. Mizutani won 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5.
After the match, Kamal said, ''I had my chances but Mizutani played better.''
Mizutani, however, said he was not too worried when he lost his second game 8-11 because ''I knew even if I lost my match, Ken would 100 percent to be able to defeat his opponent in his match (fifth match)''.
He said he had a good feeling throughout the match and played a motivated game.
Yo Kan, who lost the first match to Kamal, said, ''It was the first time I had played against Achanta. I had no idea who he was, so I was not prepared. I guess my reaction time was a bit slow and I was playing too conservatively and I was not decisive.''