Birmingham: India’s men’s and women’s table tennis teams had easy starts to their respective campaigns with identical 3-0 victories over Barbados and South Africa in the Commonwealth Games here on Friday.
In a group 3 encounter against minnows Barbados, the pair of Harmeet Desai and G Sathiyan steamrolled Kevin Farley and Tyrese Knight 11-9, 11-9, 11-4 while veteran Sharath Kamal made short work of Ramon Maxwell 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 in less than 15 minutes.
Sathiyan then hardly broke a sweat before disposing off Tyrese Knight 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 to seal the tie.
In the women’s event, the first on the court was the doubles duo of Sreeja Akula and Reeth Tennison, who combined well to beat the South African pair of Lailaa Edwards and Danisha Patel 11-7 11-7 11-5 to hand India the lead.
Then, reigning Commonwealth Games champion Manika Batra, who became the first Indian table tennis player to win a gold in the women’s singles in the last edition, lived up to her billing and thrashed Musfique Kalam 11-5 11-3 11-2 in the first singles match.
Akula then came back and scored a dominating 11-5 11-3 11-6 win over Patel in the second singles to seal the tie for India.