Gujarat’s Harmeet Desai and West Bengal’s Sutirtha Mukherjee won the hearts of a packed stadium while comfortably clinching the men’s and women’s singles titles in the 36th National Games here on Saturday.
Local hero Harmeet thrashed Haryana’s Soumyajit Ghosh 4-0 while Sutirtha proved too good for national champion Sreeja Akula, with the Olympian winning 4-1 in the women’s final.
Sutirtha ended the Games on a high with three gold medals – women’s singles, doubles and team – while Harmeet and another Gujarat paddler Manush Shah now have two gold medals to show for their efforts.
Gujarat men had won the team gold, with Harmeet and Manush playing stellar roles in front of adoring crowds. The latter also clinched the mixed doubles title, partnering wife Krittwika Sinha Roy.
West Bengal emerged as the overall champions of the table tennis arena bagging four gold medals, one silver and three bronze. Gujarat finished second with three gold and three bronze. Maharashtra finished third with one silver and four bronze medals.
But the final day well and truly belonged to Harmeet and Sutirtha as they vanquished top seeds G Sathiyan and Manika Batra in their respective semifinals before dominating the gold medal matches.
Harmeet, who had won the silver medal in Kerala seven years ago, wasn’t going to let go of another chance of standing atop the podium and began the match with an aggressive mindset.
He kept Ghosh on the defensive by finding angles from both forehand and backhand shots to win 11-8, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8. Sutirtha was equally clinical in quelling the attacking instinct of 2022 Commonwealth Games mixed doubles champion Sreeja, who had thrashed the likes of Ayhika Mukherjee and Diya Chitale on her way to the final.
Sreeja also ended up on the losing side in the mixed doubles final as she and partner FR Snehit were beaten in straight sets by Shah and Krittwika.
Earlier Sutirtha had teamed up with Ayhika to defeat Karnataka’s Yashaswini Ghorpade and Kushi V in straight sets in the women’s doubles final.
West Bengal’s Jeet Chandra and Ronit Bhanja clinched the men’s doubles gold, beating statemates Arjun Ghosh and Anirban Ghosh in straight sets.