Experienced Indian paddler Harmeet Desai continued his good run in the international circuit as he staved off a strong challenge from his compatriot Amalraj Anthony to win the gold medal in the ITTF Challenge Indonesia Open 2019 played in Batam, Indonesia on Sunday.
In an all-Indian men's singles final which saw two of India's prominent players go up against each other, it was Harmeet who started on the frontfoot winning the opening game 11-9 before losing the next game 9-11 allowing Amalraj to draw level.
Ranked 104 in the world, Harmeet, however took control of the proceedings and won the next two games by an identical margin of 11-9 to go 3-1 up in the match. Amalraj reduced the lead by winning the next game 12-10, but the reigning Commonwealth TT Champion did not make any further mistake and won the 6th game 11-9 to seal the match 4-2 and win his second international title of the year.
Both the players looked in ominous form in the previous rounds getting past their respective opponents with consummate ease. Harmeet trounced Yuto Kizikuri of Japan and Siu Hang Lam of Hong Kong by the same scoreline of 4-2 in the quarters and semi-finals respectively, while Amalraj picked two 4-0 victories over Joao Monteiro of Portugal and Ibrahima Diaw of Senegal in the round of eight and four.
Meanwhile, they teamed up in the men's doubles event and were equally impressive making it to the semi-finals. Playing against the talented pair of Man Ho Kwan and Siu Hang Lam of Hong Kong, they came up with a spirited challenge but unfortunately capitulated to 3-0 (7-11, 9-11, 9-11) loss to bow out of the tournament.