PANCHKULA: G Sathiyan’s perseverance paid the dividends. What he narrowly missed at Cuttack two years ago, the world No. 37 and second-seeded paddler made it up in the 82nd National Table Tennis Championships at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.
He defeated Sharath Kamal 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8 in the final.
“Third time I was lucky, no more jinx. A huge burden off my shoulder,” said Sathiyan after the match.
“It is the first time when I got three weeks of training at home for the national championship. I have prepared well, and it has paid off,” he added. Before Cuttack, he had missed out at Pondicherry (2014) and Hyderabad (2015).
Taking a 2-0 lead, Sathiyan made his intentions loud and clear. But he knows his experienced opponent can change the momentum of the match in a matter of minutes. And Sharath did fight back, winning the next two games. But, as seen very often, Sharath had his problems unable to land the ball. Converting those moments to his advantage, Sathiyan nailed it again and went 3-2 up.
As if on cue, Sathiyan kept his backhand blocks and forehand scorchers going, pushing Sharath on the backfoot as hard as possible. Sharath should own up the mistakes for his losing heart in the match, allowing Sathiyan to take control slowly but surely. It’s equally important to give full credit to Sathiyan, the new champion, who punched his way up the ladder with a lot of hard work.
“In the end, it was a good match, and he deserved to win,” said Sharath. He attributed the loss to the lack of concentration in the fifth game after leading 8-6. “Two crucial mistakes cost me dearly at that stage. But Sathiayn let me off the hook in the third to come back. These are part of the game. I am happy for him,” he added.
With age catching up with Sharath, Sharath is not yet giving up chasing his tenth title. “I will certainly come back strong and aim for it,” he said.