Event Section
Double for Manav, Selenadeepthi puts her best foot forward


Agra, November 8: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board Academy’s Manav Thakkar defeated West Bengal’s Anirban Ghosh 4-2 in the Junior Boys final in the LIC National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Eklavya Indoor Stadium here today. This was his second title here, having already claimed the Sub-Junior Boys crown on the second day of the championships.


Tamil Nadu’s Selenadeepthi Selvakumar made amends for her previous title loss to overcome Airports Authority of India’s Harsha Vardhini to win the Junior Girls trophy 4-2.


Manav, who is in his zone, put out on display his variety of strokes without any mental block against the West Bengal boy. Anirban, normally an attacking player, found the going tough against Manav, who never flinches to go for the kill, irrespective of the situation. But today was a normal day for him and he went about the task, sending his down-the-line forehand winners and also playing away from the table, clinically to ward off even an imaginary threat from Anirban.


Selena, on the other hand, had everything to lose. She, however, brought variety to his strokes and brilliantly used the table to outwit her AAI opponent, who would have done better if she were able to shed those minor errors at the net.


Manav Thakkar is proving to be Jeet Chandra’s nemesis. On their fifth consecutive meeting in recent times, Jeet yet again failed to overcome the Manav phobia. Today in the semifinals, Jeet went down in straight games of 7-11, 11-13, 6011, 8-11 but Manav’s rival in the final, Anirban Ghosh, escaped by the skin of the teeth against PSPBA’s Lalrin Puia.


Puia, being erratic at times, proved to be his undoing despite waging a wonderful battle against the West Bengal lad who led 2-0. Puia staged a comeback of sorts but could not withstand a clinical onslaught by Anirban.


In girls’ semifinals, Selena who missed the title by a whisker at Durgapur had it easy against AAI’s Harsha Vardhini, winning the tie 4-1 while it was a one-sided affair for Ayhika who downed Manasi in straight games. Except for the third extended game in which Selena lost 10-12 before sewing it up in the next two. Ayhika, on the other hand, allowed some liberty to Manasi in the third yet it was the AAI girl who clinched it 13-11.


Earlier, UP’s Aishwarya Pathak failed to go past the quarterfinal hurdle losing to Maharashtra’s Manasi Chiplunkar 3-4. Incidentally, Aishwyarya had upset second seeded Bohra Payal of Maharashtra yesterday to raise visions of an interesting quarterfinal battle.


Aishwarya did live up to expectations to begin with but has to blame her misery after having led 2-1 until the midway. Though she lost the opening game even as her opponent was struggling to find her feet, the UP girl picked up nice momentum to go 2-1 up.


Yet, the credit must go to the Maharashtra girl who not only equalled score but also took the lead only to lose advantage in the next game by a big margin. She avenged that loss by returning the compliment to her UP rival in the decider to win 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5 in a bottom half duel. Even Ayhika had a tough match against Telengana’s Sreeja Akula which the former won 4-3 from the same half.


The Results:


Junior Boys Singles: Final: Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) btg Anirban Ghosh (WB) 4-2 (6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9); Semifinals: Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) bt Jeet Chandra (WB) 4-0 (11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 11-8), Anirban Ghosh (WB) bt Lalrin Puia (PSPBA) 4-2 (11-4, 11-6, 2-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9).


Junior Girls Singles: Final: Selenadeepthi Selvakumar (TN) bt Ayhika Mukherjee (AAI) 4-2 (3-11, 13-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3); Semifinals: Selenadeepthi Selvakumar (TN) bt Harsha Vardhini (AAI) 4-1 (11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9), Ayhika Mukherjee (AAI) bt Manasi Chiplunkar (MHR) 4-0 (11-4, 11-1, 13-11, 11-6).