Feb 29: Indian men paddlers had a perfect start to their campaign at the World Championships by blanking out Vietnam 3-0 in the first round of the Second Division here on Sunday. Later, the women’s squad too scored an easy 3-0 triumph over Columbia in Group G.
Clubbed in Group F, Indian men took on Vietnam this morning and thumped their rivals in quick time. Opening the attack for India, Achanta Sharath Kamal defeated Anh Tu Nguyen 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6. The Indian had a fine start but after leading 2-0, he dropped a game when Anh came back nicely. However, the experienced Indian shut out the challenge by winning the next game.
For Anthony Amalraj, who took on Tien Dat Le in the next rubber, it was rather easy when he quickly disposed of his opponent 12-10, 11-5, 11-6 and after that Harmeet Desai downed Ba Tuan Anh Doan 11-5, 13-11, 2-10 in a tough contest. Despite the threat from Doan, the Indian had things under control.
Both Soumyajit Ghosh and G. Sathiyan, the other members of the men’s squad, had a free day. Fortunately, the draw is relaxed with just one match per day as the Indians will take on Turkey on Monday. After that they will play Nigeria, Switzerland and Slovakia.
In Second Division’s first-round, Mouma Das opened the contest with an easy victory over Columbia’s Paula Medina, scoring a 11-2, 12-10, 11-2 win. She was followed by Manika Batra, who defeated Lady Runao 11-5, 11-4, 11-4, while Pooja Sahasrabudde completed the first round task with 11-4, 11-8, 11-3 win over Luisa Zuluaga.
Indian women’s team comprises Manika Batra, Mouma Das, K. Shamini, Pooja Sahasrabudde and Madhurika Patkar. They are a part of Group G where they have Croatia, Nigeria, Columbia, Puerto Rico and Portugal for company. In their second round on Monday, India will take on Puerto Rico.
There are 24 teams in the Second Division divided into four groups of six teams each in both sections. All teams will play each other in round-robin with the top teams qualifying for the second stage.