Ayhika Mukherjee & Harmeet Desai: India’s New Table-Tennis Stars
Ayhika Mukherjee & Harmeet Desai won the singles golds at the Commonwealth Table-Tennis Championship.
Two historic medals in the 2018 Asian Games and a record-breaking haul of four podium finishes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and table-tennis was definitely the breakout sport of the past year.
There also emerged a new face of the sport - Manika Batra, a 23-year-old Delhi native who, in fact, had been playing the sport for almost a decade. That seems to be becoming a trend for Indian table-tennis players - to start slow but peak some years into their careers.
While Manika continues to be India’s top ranked TT player in the world, the recently concluded Commonwealth Championships in Cuttack saw two other (mini) veterans of the game step up and take centrestage.
Harmeet Desai and Ayhika Mukherjee won the men's and women's singles titles as hosts India completed a clean sweep, claiming all the seven gold medals on offer.
Harmeet, 26, beat favourite India’s top men’s player G Sathiyan 4-3 (9-11 6-11 11-5 11-8 17-15 7-11 11-9 to claim the men's singles title. In women singles, Ayhika won her maiden gold in the championships, thrashing former national champion Madurika Patkar 4-0 (11-6 11-4 11-9 19-17), becoming the first Indian woman to bag a singles gold at the tournament.
Watch as the two new stars talk about the final, their journey to the top and their road ahead.
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