Achanta Sharath Kamal showed age is just a number as the 40-year-old capped his best-ever performance at the Commonwealth Games by winning the men's singles gold in Birmingham on Monday.
After losing the first game that he should have closed, Sharath beat a much younger yet experienced Liam Pitchford of England 11-13, 11-7, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8 at the NEC arena. Sharath, who had first won the singles gold back in 2006, had already claimed two golds here in the team and mixed doubles event alongside Sreeja Akula.
With this yellow metal, he increased his tally to a staggering 13 medals across five CWG appearances. In the final, he was at his finest, firing winners from both sides. Long rallies away from the table was the order of the day and Sharath won majority of them.
He was also brilliant in cutting the points short with perfectly placed backhand winners. In what turned out to be the final game of the title clash, Sharath led 6-1 before Pitchford reduced the deficit to 5-6 by winning the best rally of the match. Sharath absorbed the pressure to make it 10-6 after time out.
He thought he had converted his second match point but the umpires awarded the point to his opponent as the ball was close to Sharath's body at the time of his retrieve. He converted the next one to complete a memorable run in Birmingham.
G Sathiyan secured the bronze after a marathon battle against England's Paul Drinkhall. Sathiyan bagged his maiden CWG singles medal after beating home-favourite Drinkhall 4-3 in front of a packed crowd.
The Indian thus avenged his men's doubles final loss against the same opponent by winning 11-9, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 10-12 and 11-9. The bronze was Sathiyan’s sixth overall medal at the CWG since Gold Coast 2018.
On Sunday, Sathiyan paired up with the Sharath to claim the men's doubles silver after going down to the English duo of Drinkhall and Pitchford.