India’s pair of Sharath Kamal and Harmeet Desai won the first game in dominant fashion to kick off their fixture against Northern Ireland. They took a 10-1 lead in the opening game and ended the bout with an 11-3 win.
The duo then failed to win the second game as the Irish duo edged ahead with an 11-9 win. But Kamal and Desai retaliated with great vigour and went on to win the next two games on the trot. In the end, they registered an 11-3, 9-11, 11-6 and 11-1 victory to kick off the fixture.
Then Sanil Shetty had a clinical 3-0 win which was followed up by an intense Desai performance where he came back multiple times to defeat Owen Cathcart 3-2. India closed the fixture with a 3-0 margin.
Before the tournament, Sharath Kamal had one desire and that was to win medals in the Commonwealth Games and so far he has been incredible. Kamal has a special bond with the event as he dominated the competition over the years.
In an interview, he talked about his love affair with this tournaement. “In 2006 when I won a medal for the first time, people started to know me. I have a special bonding with Commonwealth Games. I have won medals every time I have played at this event and hope I will be able to do so this time as well and make my country proud,” he said.
Kamal’s first gold medal was in the 2004 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships which was followed by a glorious singles gold medal at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games along with a gold in the men’s team event.
He then won two more Commonwealth golds in 2010 – in the men’s team and men’s doubles. He missed out on any medals in 2014 but retaliated by winning gold, silver and two bronze medals in the previous event.
Talking about his team, he addressed how they all share the same exact goals of winning medals for India. He said, “I have been around for a long time. The competition is really good. We have good players in Canada, there is England, Nigeria and Singapore. I hope we will be going back with medals.”