Gujarat’s Harmeet Desai and West Bengal’s Sutirtha Mukherjee clinched the men’s and women’s table tennis singles titles with dominating wins in the National Games 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 National Games with three gold medals — women’s singles, doubles and team — while Harmeet and another Gujarat paddler Manush Shah won two each.
Gujarat men had won the team gold, with Harmeet and Manush playing stellar roles in front of home crowd. Manush also clinched the mixed doubles title, partnering wife Krittwika Sinha Roy.
West Bengal emerged as the overall champions in table tennis, bagging four gold, one silver and three bronze. Gujarat finished second with three gold and three silver. Maharashtra was third with one silver and four bronze medals.
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.
Earlier in the day, Harmeet and Sutirtha came up with inspired performances to upset top seeds G Sathiyan and Manika Batra in the men’s and women’s singles semifinals.
Harmeet defeated Sathiyan 4-2 while Sutirtha got the better of Manika by an identical margin.