Indian paddlers Achanta Sharath Kamal and Mouma Das qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics on Saturday, after finishing first and third respectively in Draw ‘B’ in Stage 2 of the Asian qualifying event. Sharath Kamal came back from a 1-3 deficit to win the match 4-3 against Noshad Alamiyan of Iran.
Sharath Kamal, who failed to qualify for the Olympics last time around, had also faced disappointment in the South Asian Zone of the Asian Olympic table tennis tournament in Hong Kong, after fellow Indian Soumyajit Ghosh grabbed the Olympic spot ahead of the veteran.
In stage 2 of the Asia Olympic qualifiers, the top-ranked Indian faced up against Noshad Alamiyan of Iran for a place in the Olympics. Sharath was the favourite going into the finals, after having beaten the Iranian four times in their past five meetings. Although, the 33-year old lost the first set 12-14, he levelled things up in the next set by winning it 11-6. However, Sharath was staring down the barrel after the fourth set with the Iranian taking a 1-3 lead in the match.
From there, the Indian produced a brilliant comeback by winning the next three sets in a row to book an Olympic ticket.
Mouma Das, on the other hand, lost her final round match to North Korea's Ri Myong Sun in straight games (3-11 9-11 10-12 5-11), but booked her spot in this year’s Olympics, after winning the loser’s final against Rimma Gufranova of Uzbekistan 4-1 (11-13 11-9 13-11 11-7 12-10).
With the wins for Sharath Kamal and Mouma Das, India now has four table tennis players going to Rio in August. Soumyajit Ghosh and Manika Batra had qualified for the quadrennial event on Thursday.
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