Olympic athletes Mouma Das and Sutirtha Mukherjee assisted West Bengal in winning the gold medal at the National Games on Thursday, while Harmeet Desai, who won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, and Manav Thakkar, who won the bronze medal at the Asian Games, led Gujarat to victory in the men’s table tennis competition.
West Bengal overcame Maharashtra 3-1 in the women’s table tennis team final to clinch the gold medal at the National Games. Ayhika Mukherjee, who was part of the Indian team at the Asian Games 2018, beat Swastika Ghosh 3-0 in the first rubber of the final to give West Bengal an early lead in the five-match tie.
Reethrishya Tennison then led Maharashtra’s comeback, upstaging Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sutirtha Mukherjee 3-0 (9-11, 11-13, 9-11) in the second match.
Athens 2004 Olympian Mouma Das, 38, seemed to be struggling against 19-year-old Diya Chitale in the crucial third rubber after losing the first game.
Mouma Das, however, used her experience well to come from behind and defeat Diya Chitale 3-2 (6-11, 16-14, 10-12, 14-12, 11-6) and help West Bengal take the lead.
Sutirtha Mukherjee, part of India’s gold medal-winning team at Commonwealth Games 2018, put up a far better show in the reverse fixture against Swastika Ghosh to secure the title for West Bengal.
In the men’s table tennis event, Gujarat, the top-seeded table tennis team at National Games, did not lose a single rubber throughout the competition and beat Delhi 3-0 in the final to lift the title.
Gujarat’s Manav Thakkar, an Asian Games bronze medallist, dominated Delhi’s Sudhanshu Grover in the opening game. Gujarat’s captain Harmeet Desai, a two-time Commonwealth Games men’s team gold medallist, then defeated Payas Jain in the second rubber.
Manush Shah’s one-sided win over Yashansh Malik wrapped up the affair for team Gujarat. While Maharashtra and West Bengal took the men’s bronze medals, Tamil Nadu and Telangana claimed the women’s bronze medals.
The National Games 2022 was set to start officially on September 27. However, with the World Table Tennis Championships in China scheduled from September 30, the table tennis events at the National Games were brought forward to ensure the presence of India’s top players Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra.
The trio will be in action in the individual events, starting from Thursday. More than 7,000 athletes are competing in over 30 sports at the National Games 2022.
Now in its 36th edition, the National Games were first held in Lahore, British India, in 1924. It is being held after a gap of seven years.