Paddlers give India first gold medals at Lusofonia Games

Panaji, Jan 20: India’s first gold medals in the third Lusofonia Games came via table tennis when the country’s men and women paddlers kept their top billing intact in the five-team pool events.

Portugal, despite putting up a good fight against India, had to be content with the silver. Neighbours Sri Lanka took bronze in the men’s section.

Indian men defeated Portugal 3-1 in an intensive battle while the women just ran through their European opponents 3-0 in what was a one-sided affair to claim the team gold medals in both the sections. Sri Lanka claimed the silver while the bronze medal went to Macau in the women’s fare.

In fact, it was the women paddlers who gave India their maiden gold, incidentally the first ever in table tennis at the Games so far.

They were followed by the Indian men who, to start with, were in a bit of a tangle after Soumyajit Ghosh lost his singles to southpaw Diogo Silva. But what gave India the advantage was the game between Anthony Amal Raj, who defeated another left-handed Jorge Costa after being 0-2 down.

As for the women, it was totally a one-sided issue with K. Shamini accounting for Joana Mota 3-1, Anikita Das then beating Raquel Andrade 3-0 and Madhurika Patkar completing the formality with a 3-0 win over Joana Fins.

The Lusofonia Games are a Portuguese equivalent of the British Commonwealth Games. The team from Goa, a former Portuguese colony, also comprises of athletes from the rest of India.

The 12-day sporting event will features Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea- Bissau, Goa (India), Macau (China), Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe and Sri Lanka, whose athletes will compete in nine sporting disciplines like athletics, basketball, beach volleyball, football, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball and wushu.

The Lusofonia Games 2014 are the third edition of the Portuguese Commonwealth Games. The first two were held in Macau in 2006 and in Lisbon in 2009.

Results (5th round):

Men:

Harmeet Desai beat Andre Silva 3 – 1 (11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9)

Soumyajit Ghosh lost to Diogo Silva2 – 3 (8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 4-11, 7-11)

Amalraj Anthony beat Jorge Costa 3 – 2 (8-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 11-6)

Soumyajit Ghosh beat Andre Silva 3 – 1 (7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-6)

Women:

Shamini Kumaresan beat Joana Mota 3 – 1 (11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 13-11)

Ankita Das beat Raquel Andrade 3 – 0 (11-8, 11-8, 11-7)

Madhurika Patkar beat Joana Fins 3 – 0 (11-8, 11-5, 11-5)

IANS