February 6th, 2017
The 78th 11Even Sports Senior Nationals for Table Tennis being held at the Manesar Sports Club in Manesar, Haryana yielded two phenomenal players. The men’s championship was won by A Sharath Kumal, which is his 7th Title, and the women’s side winner is Madhurika Patkar, who won this title for the first time.
Sharath Kamal jump-started his career with a title win at this very championship 13 years ago. He, later on, won this title 7 times. In this year’s match, Sharath comfortably won 4-2 against the two-time champion and sixth seed Soumyajit Ghosh. Having faced the fifth seed Harmeet Desai in the semi-finals, boosted his confidence. Although he seemed exhausted all through the final, he realised it was the same with his opponent, and continued to fight on. The two players fought hard. They won alternate sets when in the final sixth set Sharath won the match.
“Very Satisfying. I was confident, but feeling really tired. I knew Ghosh was also sailing in the same boat, having played the doubles. Luckily, it helped me a bit,” said Sharath after this 7th incredible stint. He added that he would categorise time by giving four months for his league in Germany, four for the domestic competitions, and the rest, for his family.
Contrary to the men’s championship, the women’s side saw a jaw-dropping victory where a new name has won against the 6-time champion. Madhurika beat Poulomi 4-0 before grabbing the trophy. Poulomi crossed over to her opponent’s side followed by patting and a short secret speech. While talking to the media, Poulomi recalled, “She is too good, she is the deserving champion”. Madhurika clearly dominated the first three sets, and during the final moments when Poulomi hit the ball into the net, Madhurika’s joy knew no bounds.
After the win, Madhurika took a victory lap around the indoor stadium thanking all the people who supported her and joined her parents outside the hall. She, later on, called her coach Shailaja Gohad and enjoyed the moment with her. “Best moment of my life and culmination of a wonderful season,” said Madhurika with a glowing face. She won the North and East zone titles. She also thanked her mental trainer Dr Nithin and said, “I knew I had everything to play and be on top but thanks to him that I was able to win today”. She also added that the support from her husband Omkar and her in-laws was just incredible.