Mumbai, Apr 11 (PTI) Former eight-time national champion and veteran paddler Kamlesh Mehta feels that the triumph by the Indian table tennis teams in the Commonwealth Games in Australia would give belief to young players that they too can be champions.
India swept the table tennis team events of the Commonwealth Games as the men matched the women to nail a memorable gold with an emphatic 3-0 win over Nigeria in the final.
After Manika Batra fired India to a historic 3-1 triumph over Singapore, the Sharath Kamal-led men’s outfit too beat the team from the city state 3-2 in the semifinals before beating Nigeria in the final.
“Absolutely, it’s a dream come true. It’s an unthinkable and fantastic performance and I would rate it as the golden performance of the Indian team,” 57-year-old Mumbai-born Mehta told PTI.
It is the first time since the racquet sport’s induction into the Commonwealth Games programme that India has topped both the categories.
“This is certainly going to be a trend-setting performance on two counts – one is winning the gold in both the events for the first time and two it will give the belief in each and every young player of India in table tennis that he/she can also be world-beaters. That is a bigger thing I look (at),” Mehta added.
Mehta conceded he did not expect the women’s team to beat Singapore, and termed this feat as fantastic.
“(In) men’s, we knew we had a good chance to win the gold while in the women’s we knew we will be among the medals, but winning over Singapore is not something we (expected). It was a fantastic achievement with Singapore being a strong team,” he said.
Mehta is associated with the Ultimate Table Tennis League, which started last year.
Asked to co-relate UTT and India’s performance, he said, “It would be unfair on my part to say that, but what reaction I have got from people (players), their coaches and their parents, is that this (UTT) played a very important role”.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.