Commonwealth Games: Men's paddlers settle for silver after 1-3 loss to India
SINGAPORE — A day after stunning hosts England in the semi-finals, Singapore's men's table tennis team found defending champions India a step too far, as they were outplayed 1-3 in the final at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Tuesday (2 August).
The silver-medal showing was nonetheless an encouraging development for the youthful team, who improved with each tie in the competition, culminating in the memorable 3-2 victory over top-seeded England.
Facing an Indian side who had already beaten them 3-0 in the opening group stage, the doubles duo of Koen Pang, 20, and Izaac Quek, 17, tried to seize an early advantage, just like they did against England the day before.
However, the India duo of Harmeet Desai and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran proved a step too far for the Singaporeans, as they took the first tie 13-11, 11-7, 11-5.
Next up was Clarence Chew, the oldest member of the Singapore team at age 26, against India's oldest player, 40-year-old Sharath Kamal Achanta, who had been in scintillating form throughout the competition.
However, Chew finally handed Achanta his first loss at the Games, attacking brilliantly to level the final with a 11-7, 12-14, 11-3, 11-9 win that briefly raised hopes that Singapore could pull off another upset.
It was not to be, as Pang battled valiantly against Gnanasekaran in the third tie, but was unable to sustain an early momentum as he lost 10-12, 11-7, 7-11, 4-11.
It was left to Chew to try and extend the tie to a fifth match, but he was easily subdued by Desai, who won 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 to clinch the gold-winning point for India.
Shuttlers clinch team bronze, Shanti Pereira sets national record
Singapore's shuttlers ended their mixed team competition on a high, beating England 3-0 to earn the bronze medal at the National Exhibition Centre.
After losing 0-3 to India in the semi-finals on Monday, the mixed doubles duo of Terry Hee and Jessica Tan seized the initiative for Singapore this time around as they defeated Ben Lane and Lauren Smith 21-17, 25-23 to take the first point.
Reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew was up next, and he had to endure a spirited resistance from Toby Penty before eventually eking out a narrow 23-25, 21-11, 25-23 win, collapsing in relief after Penty's final shot flew wide.
It was left to Yeo Jia Min to clinch the winning point in the women's singles match, and she succeeded after beating Freya Redfearn 21-18, 21-14 to the delight of her teammates.
At the Alexander Stadium, sprinter Shanti Pereira set a new national record in qualifying for the women's 100m semi-finals, clocking 11.48sec to eclipse her own 2019 mark of 11.58sec.
The 25-year-old is enjoying a stellar year, after winning a silver medal in the same event in May's SEA Games in Hanoi, clocking 11.62sec. She had also won the 200m gold at the Games in a national record of 23.52sec.
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