Table tennis nationals: Sharath Kamal wins 10th title; Sreeja Akula bags maiden crown

Sreeja Akula defeated Olympian Mouma Das for the women’s singles title and also won the doubles title with Ayhika Mukherjee. Manika Batra was knocked out early.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

Sharath Kamal won his 10th men’s singles national title while Sreeja Akula clinched the women’s singles crown at the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championships in Shillong on Monday.

Sharath Kamal had to grind out a tough 4-3 victory over Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in the final for the record-extending 10th title. Last year, G Sathiyan had beaten Sharath Kamal in the decider to claim his first national table tennis title.

“Tenth is always special, and I will cherish this moment as I did with my first title. Records are meant to be broken but might take some time as happened with me when I surpassed Kamlesh Mehta’s eight-time national record,” Sharath Kamal said after the win.

Sharath Kamal dedicated his win to teenage table tennis player D Vishwa, who died in a car accident en route to the nationals. Sharath was mentoring the youngster since 2019.

In the women’s singles final, Sreeja Akula, who had lost out on the national title to Manika Batra last year, defeated Olympian Mouma Das, a former five-time national champion, 4-1 for her maiden title. 

Mouma Das, 38, was competing for the first time at the national tournament after a three-year break and since becoming a mother. 

In the earlier rounds, Mouma Das, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, turned back the clock with an impressive win over second seed Diya Chitale despite being 3-0 down at one stage. 

In the semis, Mouma Das won 4-2 against third seed Reeth Rishya, who had beaten Tokyo Olympian Sutirtha Mukherjee in the earlier rounds. 

Top seed and India’s highest-ranked women’s table tennis player Manika Batra, meanwhile, had made an early exit from the tournament after losing to Ayhika Mukherjee 4-3 in the pre-quarters.

Besides the singles title, Sreeja Akula also won the women’s doubles with partner Ayhika Mukherjee. The duo beat Takeme Sarkar and Prapti Sen 3-2 in the final.

The men’s doubles crown went to Haryana’s Sourav Saha and Wesley Do Rosaria, who defeated Soumyajit Ghosh and Jubin Kumar 3-2. 

The mixed doubles title, meanwhile, was won by Akash Pal and Prati Sen, who overcame Soumyajit Ghosh and Suhana Saini 3-1.

The meet in Shillong was the final national tournament before the Indian table tennis team for the Commonwealth Games is announced. The Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham, UK from July 28 to August 8.

National Table Tennis Championships 2022 winners

Men's singles - Sharath Kamal

Women's singles - Sreeja Akula

Men's doubles - Sourav Saha/ Wesley Do Rosaria

Women's doubles - Sreeja Akula/ Ayhika Mukherjee

Mixed doubles - Akash Pal/ Prati Sen

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