Indian challenge in women’s table tennis ended in the first round itself as Ankita Das crashed out losing 1-4 to Spain’s Sara Ramirez at the ExCel centre here.
The 19-year-old Indian, who was playing in her first ever Games, fought valiantly to stage a comeback in the fourth game, but that did not prove enough as the Spaniard rallied back to clinch the fifth game and the match in just 29 minutes.
Ankita looked totally out of sorts against a much higher ranked Sara (83) as she gave away some easy points and could not hold on to her serve on occasions.
The Siliguri girl, who booked her Olympic berth through a South Asian quota place earlier this year, however showed patches of brilliance as she tried her best to stay alive in the tournament.
Backhand has been Ankita’s weak point and whenever Ramirez played there, the youngster was all at sea. She is also not known for her mobility and lack of feet movement also led to her downfall.
The 24-year-old Spaniard, though, did not allow Ankita any chance to launch an offensive as she won the first three games 11-9 11-8 11-7 in just 19 minutes.
Ankita kept the Indian hopes alive winning the fourth game 11-8, but her abject surrender in the fifth and decisive game (11-2) proved fatal for her chances. Ankita had earlier got a bye in the preliminary round.
The youngster however isn’t complaining though as it was her maiden appearance at the Games and this wonderful experience will only help her become a better player.
“God was not with me today. I prayed to God before the game to give me strength and I fought hard. But I was beaten by a really strong player,” the 19-year-old told the mediapersons after the match.
Ankita’s assessment about her own game was that she didn’t play badly but it was a tall order against someone ranked in the top-100. ”I did not play badly but I was up against a much stronger player.”
On the experience of playing in her first Olympic Games: ”I’m only 19 and this has already been a wonderful experience. I’m am one of the youngest members in the Indian contingent and I will certainly learn a lot from this defeat.”
The Siliguri girl’s role model is Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic and she wants to inculcate her fighting spirit. ”My biggest hero is Novak Djokovic of Serbia. He has such a wonderful spirit, a real fighter. That’s how I want to be,” she said.