Hangzhou, Sep 22 (IANS): While the off-field diplomatic tiff between the governments of India and China over the denial of accreditation to three wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh getting all the attention, Indian sportspersons hogged the limelight in the field too with the country registering important wins in men's volleyball and men's and women's table tennis competitions.
The men's volleyball team remained on course for a medal for the first time in nearly four decades when it defeated Chinese Taipei in a cross-over match for the top 12 positions and made it to the quarterfinals with a convincing straight games victory against Chinese Taipei, the bronze medallist in the previous edition in Indonesia in 2018.
India defeated Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-21) in one hour and 20 minutes at the China Textile City Sports Centre Gymnasium, thus setting up a quarterfinal clash with former champions Japan. The Indian team, which had defeated 2018 Games silver medallist South Korea in their preliminary group match, will go into the clash with Japan in a bullish mood having got the better of two top-level teams already in the competition.
In the table tennis team competitions, the Indian men won both their matches on Friday, handing lowly Yemen a 3-0 defeat in the clash that proved a perfect warm-up for the key clash with Singapore, which India won 3-1, the loss suffered by Commonwealth Games men's singles gold medallist Acnahta Sharath Kamal being the only matter of concern.
The Indian women's table tennis team too faced a few anxious moments as both Manika Batra and Ayhika Mukherjee lost a match each against Singapore. However, the Indians managed to get the better of Singapore 3-2 with Manika, Ayhika and Sreeja Akula winning a match each.
The Indian women's team started off on a disappointing note when Ayhika Mukherjee went down in four games to Jian Zeng after winning the first game, 11-7, 2-11, 7-11, 10-12.
Manika Batra pulled India level by beating Jingyi Zhou 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 and Sreeja Akula made it 2-1 for India with a hard-fought 12-14, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7
But just when India thought of wrapping up the match with Manika Batra at the table, things went south for them as Manika lost to Jian Zeng 3-11, 11-3, 10-12, 12-10, 10-12 in a nerve-jingling encounter.
However, the Indian women could not be denied on Friday as Ayhika then stepped up and defeated Jingyi Zhou 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 to clinch the match for India.
There were some brilliant individual performances too as Indian men's singles scull rower Balraj Panwar qualified for the final after finishing third in the semifinals with a timing of 7:22:22.
The rowers have quietly gone about their jobs in Hangzhou with nine of them including two women reaching their respective finals.
In sailing, Olympians Vishnu Saravanan and Nethra Kumanan remain on course for a good performance in their respective categories. Sarvanan finished first in Race 3 but then could manage only seventh position in the next one.
ION men's Skiff - 49er, India's Olympians KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar finished third in Races 4, 5, and 6 on Friday, maintaining their chances of finishing among medals.
The sailors and table tennis players will be back in action on Saturday morning before the opening ceremony which will be held in the evening.