Veteran table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal on Monday won his fourth medal of the 2022 Commonwealth Games by clinching the gold medal in men’s singles event in Birmingham.
Sharath defeated England’s Liam Pitchford 11-13, 11-7, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8 to win his second men’s singles gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, 16 years after he won in the event in Melbourne 2006 edition.
Earlier in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Sharath won a gold medal in the men’s team event, and followed it up with a silver in men’s doubles and another gold in mixed doubles.
He will also be India’s flag-bearer in the closing ceremony of the multi-nation event.
In the first set, Sharath had a game point but Pitchford, ranked 20 in the world, kept his cool to make a comeback and took the first game 12-10. Sharath got back to winning ways by taking the second set 11-7. His experience of playing in high-pressure matches came to the fore as he took third game 11-2.
After taking the fourth game 11-6, Pitchford tried to pull back desperately with successive points. But Sharath eventually won the gold medal with a solid forehand to give India its 21st gold in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Joining Sharath on the men’s singles podium was Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who won the bronze medal after overcoming England’s Paul Drinkhall 11-9, 11-3, 11-5, 9-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9 in a thrilling match.
The match started with Sathiyan winning the first three games easily. But Drinkhall ensured it was not a cake walk for the Indian paddler as he went on to win the next three games. The final game went right down the wire, but Sathiyan came back from 8-9 down to prevail over the local favourite in the end to win his first singles medal in the Commonwealth Games.