In a remarkable quarter-final faceoff during the 2023 Asian Games, India’s dynamic duo, Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee, executed a stunning set by triumphing over the reigning world champions and second-ranked Chinese pair, Meng Chen and Yidi Wang.
Their impressive 3-1 victory has secured India at least a bronze medal in the women’s doubles table tennis event, marking an extraordinary achievement for the nation.
Standing as the world’s 16th-ranked team, Ayhika and Sutirtha entered the quarter-final match as underdogs, yet displayed a performance that left the audience awe-inspired. They dominantly commenced the contest, clinching the first game with a decisive 11-5 victory, taking their opponents by surprise. The Indian duo continued to assert their dominance in the second game, securing another 11-5 win, firmly establishing their determination to surpass the formidable Chinese team.
Although Meng and Yidi fought back fiercely, claiming the third game with an 11-5 score, Ayhika and Sutirtha displayed exceptional composure. The fourth game was a nail-biter, with China pushing India to the edge. However, the Indian duo held their nerve and triumphed 11-9, sealing their semi-final spot, and scripting an inspiring journey from underdogs to securing a spot on the podium.
This historic victory not only guarantees India its first medal in table tennis at the 2023 Asian Games but also stands as a testament to the determination and skill of Ayhika and Sutirtha.
It is worth noting that Ayhika and Sutirtha stand as the sole Indians in contention for a table tennis medal, as all other Indian athletes in the sport were eliminated despite their commendable performances earlier in the tournament.
The spotlight now shines brightly on this exceptional Indian duo as they advance to the semi-finals to strive for an opportunity to compete for the gold.