Mumbai: Indian paddler Yogesh Desai emerged as the World Champion, winning the men’s 70+ singles title in the recently-concluded ITTF World Veterans Table Tennis Championship 2023, in Muscat, Oman.
The Indian contingent returned from Oman with a rich haul of 24 medals, including six gold, six silver and 12 bronze medals.
The Mumbai-based player Desai played with plenty of grit and determination and did well to brush aside the challenge from Czech Republic’s Milan Rakovicky storming to a 3-1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 13-11) in the best-of-five-game final and claim his maiden gold medal in the event organised by the Oman Table Tennis Association and played at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Another Indian Mantu Murmu also won the World Champion’s crown winning the Women’s 60+ singles crown. The Kolkata-based Murmu proved too good for compatriot Suhasini Bakre smoothly cruising to a 3-0 (11-3, 11-7, and 11-7) victory with a measure of ease and clinched the gold medal.
Meanwhile, India also won the Men’s 70+ doubles title with the pairing of Ulhas Shirke and Pinakin Sampat winning the final. The Mumbai duo of Shirke and Sampat combined perfectly to outplay the mixed Indo-USA pair of Girish Sawant and Randy Hou, winning by a 3-1 (11-7, 11-9, 6-11, and 11-8) margin.
Earlier, in the Men’s 70+ semifinals, Desai showed remarkable fighting spirit as he recovered after trailing 1-2 to come back by winning the last two games to overcome Austria’s Reinhard Sorger by snatching a tense 3-2 (11-9, 5-11, 7-11, 12-10, and 11-4) win.
The other semifinal also witnessed an engrossing battle as Rakovicky lost the opening two games against compatriot Frantisek Just, who made a positive start. But Rakovicky gallantly fought back to win the remaining three games in succession to clinch a deserving 3-2 (6-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, and 12-10) win.
Women’s 60+ singles (semis): Mantu Murmu (IND) bt Virginia Stanescu (BEL) 3-0 (11-4, 13-11, 11-2); Sushasini Bakre (IND) bt Gina Hundven (NOR) 3-1 (11-1, 11-4, 4-11, 11-8); Finals Mantu Murmu (IND) bt Sushasini Bakre (IND) 3-0 (11-3, 11-7, 11-7).
Men’s 70+ singles (semis): Yogesh Desai (IND) bt Reinhard Sorger (AUT) 3-2 (11-9, 5-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4); Milan Rakovicky (CZE) bt Frantisek Just (Cze) 3-2 (6-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10); Final: Yogesh Desai (IND) bt Milan Rakovicky (CZE) 3-1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 13-11).
Men’s 70+ doubles (final): Ulhas Shirke (IND)/ Pinakin Sampat (IND) bt Girish Sawant (IND)/Randy Hou (USA) 3-1 (11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8).