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Asian Games 2023: Sutirtha Mukherjee-Ayhika Mukherjee clinch historic bronze in women's doubles

Published at :October 2, 2023 at 1:08 PM
Modified at :February 23, 2024 at 11:16 PM
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(Courtesy : @ianuragthakur)

Ankhi Dutta

The duo are the first pairing from India to win a medal in doubles.

In a gripping women’s doubles semi-final at the Asian Games 2023, the formidable team of Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee, affectionately known as “The Mukherjees,” fought bravely, but ultimately fell short against North Korean opponents (3-4) in the decisive seventh game. However, Ayhika and Sutirtha will return home as proud trailblazers, having become the first Indian pair to secure a medal at the Asian Games.

Their bronze victory also marks the nation’s inaugural medal in women’s table tennis at the Asian Games.

Prior to this achievement, India’s previous two bronze medals had come in team events at the 2018 Asian Games. Their remarkable journey to this historic bronze began with a series of record-breaking wins, with Ayhika and Sutirtha making history by becoming the first Indian women’s doubles pair to reach the semi-finals in the history of the Asian Games.

In the epic showdown for the finals, the dynamic duo from Naihati, The Mukherjees, faced off against the North Korean pair of Cha Su-yong and Pak Sug-yong. The Indian duo kicked off strongly, securing the first game with a four-point lead. Despite a setback in the second game, where they narrowly lost, the Indian duo swiftly regrouped and claimed the third game decisively, leaving no room for the Koreans.

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The fourth game saw a spirited exchange, with the Korean pair initially taking a three-point lead. However, Ayhika and Sutirtha fought gallantly, narrowing the gap from 10-5 to 10-8. Despite their efforts, they narrowly lost the fourth game, setting the stage for an exciting 2-2 tie between India and North Korea. The Korean duo made a strong comeback in the fifth game, but Ayhika and Sutirtha stood their ground and triumphed in the sixth game with an 11-5 victory, pushing the match to a thrilling deciding seventh game.

However, in the final game, Cha and Pak raced to a commanding 7-1 lead and ultimately secured an 11-2 victory, despite the valiant efforts by the Indian pair.