Sathiyan and Divya rule the roost


G. Sathiyan, the country’s No. 2 star in the world, had not played any domestic event this season. Obviously, one would have thought it would be a difficult journey for the PSPB product. But, the 25-year-old did one better to emerge the men’s champion of the AAI 48th all-India inter-institutional table tennis championship at the Bharathiar University Indoor Hall here on Tuesday.
It was not easy though for Sathiyan in the final. He had an aggressive-looking youngster and teammate Harmeet Desai (PSPB) playing to his full potential. But the former stood up to the challenge to defeat the latter 11-9, 12-14, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7 for the title.
He was quite delighted with the victory. “I never expected it to go down to the wire as I was 3-1, 9-8 up. But I missed an easy sitter and he pounced on that to take the match to the decider,” he said.
“We have been paddling together and we know each other’s game well. I have had the edge over him but, today he showed strong attitude and I just managed to scrape through,” added Sathiyan.. Divya Deshpande (PSPB) did likewise, scoring an exciting 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 3-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-5 win over her teammate Archana Kamath for the women’s crown. She had to battle through the whole championship without a coach. “It was quite difficult, but it was good for me as I was able to analyse my game much better,” said Divya.


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