Jakarta: The Indian men team failed to go past the South Korean hurdle and lost 0-3 in the semifinals at the JI Expo Hall B here on Tuesday.
The paddlers will not complain as they would return home with the rare bronze that will have a special place in their drawing room cupboards.
Indeed, the results were along the expected lines but what came out clearly in the semifinals was the better fighting qualities of the Indians, especially the 36-year-old Sharath Kamal, which was really inspiring for the youngsterts that might have watched him play back home.
With both Lee Sangsu and Jeoung Young Sik, figuring among the top 10 of world ranking, it was a tough ask for the Indians to do what they did against a depleted Japanese squad.
Yet, G Sathiyan began promisingly only to lose his way, unable to counter the speed and a strong backhand of Lee to fold in 34 minutes for a 11-9, 9-11, 3-11, 3-11 score-line. Probably, the Korean took some time before assessing his opponent’s weak points and attacked solidly from game two onwrds.
It reflected on Sathiyan who was in definite discomfort. Yet he managed to come close to Lee who levelled the score. However, from game three the tie was going only one way as the Korean was severe to punish on any highball and using the flanks went from strength to strength. The next game, too, was rather easy for the Korean and he took just eight minutes, two more than the previous game, to give Korean 1-0 lead.
Sharath opened up with a good lead only to surrender midway as he led 7-4 and then let Jeoung level at 9-9 before allowing two easy points on Korean’s service. But the fighter that he is, brought him back in the third and fourth which Sharath won with utmost ease, as he led more than comfortably in both games. With the decider on, the Korean siwtched himself on to a cruise mode and beat Sharath with sheer speed.
A disappointed Sharath agreed that he missed the chance of levelling the score. “I should have taken the tie, but few mistakes at crucial junctures upset me really. Maybe, it (a win in the tie) would have give us a semblance of chance,” he said.