China has won their second gold medal in snooker at the 2013 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games after winning the Men’s Team event in Incheon, South Korea.
The Chinese trio of Ding Junhui, Liang Wenbo and Tian Pengfei narrowly overcame Indian duo Aditya Mehta and Brijesh Damani in the final 3-2.
Mehta and Damani were not competing for their own nation, instead under the Olympic flag as independent players, because the Indian Olympic Association has been banned by the International Olympic Committee – who oversees these Games – since last December.
It looked as though their efforts to succeed on their own would end in vain when the pair lost their opening two singles ties to Liang and Ding respectively.
But they kept the match alive by winning the doubles frame before Mehta, a now experienced pro on the Main Tour, forced the decider by overcoming Liang.
However, China always had six-time ranking event champion Ding Junhui up their sleeve for the final encounter and, despite what appeared to be a lengthy battle, he was able to beat Damani by a score of 58-30 to capture the gold medal for his country.
As flag-bearer, Ding’s efforts will certainly not go unnoticed back home and the 26 year-old will now be turning his attention to the Men’s Singles event later on in the week.
That comes to a conclusion on Saturday morning and, as the top seed and only player from inside the world’s top 60 in contention, Ding will be the overwhelming favourite to climb to the top of the podium.
That said, Mehta and countryman Cao Yupeng will have something to say about that as well as Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham – the former World Under-21 champion.
Speaking of Thailand, Amornrat Uamduang won the Women’s 6-Reds Snooker gold medal by beating Ng On Yee of Hong Kong 4-3.