Event Section
Abhishek, Manav win maiden titles; Manika retains youth crown


Alappuzha, November 30: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board’s Abhishek Yadav and the top-seed emerged the Youth Boys singles champion beating team mate Sudhanshu Grover 4-1 in the final of the 76th Junior National and Youth Table Tennis Championships at the Radha Convention Centre here today.


In the Youth Girls singles, it was Manika Batra of the PSPB who retained the crown, and Manav Thakkar, of the PSPB Academy, added a rare maiden title for a hat-trick of titles for the PSPB.


Abishek, leading 2-0, got a little scare from Sudhanshu who managed to take two games off him. But before it could bother him, Abhishek who won just a bronze at the Guwahati nationals, saw to it that the singles trophy never went out of his grasp. Picking up from where he left off in the first two games, the left-handed Abhishek wasted no time to sew it up.    


Manika retains title


Manika Batra, though lost her opening game in the Youth Girls final, Maharashtra’s Charvi Kawle was never a threat. The PSPB girl, who is the reigning champions in the category, took just a little over 40 minutes to beat Charvi 4-1. But the Maharshtra lass, with a great potential, failed to push Manika who on the day used her backhand and topspin serves to great effect. Charvi, on other hand, could not seize the 1-0 advantage and wilted under pressure with far too many errors at the net.  


Manav in zone


Manav Thakkar beat Delhi’s Utkarsh Gupta 4-1 for his maiden national title in the Junior Boys final. Manav, came into his zone, after levelling the score at 1-1 never to look back. Executing excellent shots and using both flanks as well as with his clever placing outwitted Utkarsh, who had finished third last year. Incidentally, Manav had won all four zonal sub-junior titles apart from winning the North Zone junior crown just three weeks ago at Agra.


In fact, Utkarsh had a golden opportunity and showed promise by taking the first game. And that was all he could do as the Surat boy his Delhi rival engaged all the time and pushing him away from table exploited the angles to unsettle Utkarsh. However hard he tried, Utkarsh could not come to terms with Manav’s blistering shots and good passing crosscourt shots. In fact, Manav won the match and title point with a great passing shot  to the right of Utkarsh.


Charvi survives


Earlier in an edge-of-the seat semifinal encounter between Maharashtra’s Charvi Kawle and Senhora D’Souza of PSPB, the in-form Charvi won the match which took almost an hour. Senhora had a decisive advantage of a 3-2 lead, but Charvi fought back well to win the sixth game after two deuces. But what tested one’s patience was the decider where none was yielding an inch to the other.


Deuce after deuce, the game went on and on with every point given and taken. However, in the end, Charvi held her nerve on her eighth match point to shut out Senohora to bring an end to the marathon decider. The other semifinal saw Manika Batra putting it across an inexperienced Archana Kamath 4-0.


In Youth Boys, Abhishek Yadav had little difficulty against an uncomfortable Lalrin Puia, who developed serious cramps. Yet, Puia decided to continue after medical attendion but the southpaw proved too good on the day. In the other semifinal, Abhishek’s team mate Sudhanshu Grover made it a one-sided affair against Delhi’s Utkarsh Gupta. Earlier, Utkarsh Gupta had reached the Junior Boys final beating PSPB’s Lalrin Puia for a showdown with PSPBA’s Manav Thakkar. Manav overcame a tough Sanish Ambekar of Maharastra 3-2 in the second semifinal.


Earlier, local girl Maria Rony bowed out of the quarterfinals, losing her singles to PSPB’s Senhora D’Souza 10-12, 3-11, 3-11, 8-11 in a one-sided affair.     


The Results:


Youth Boys (Singles): Final: Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) bt Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB) 4-2 (11-9, 14-12, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4); Semifinals: Abishek Yadav bt Lalrin Puia 4-1 (11-3, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9), Sudhanshu Grover bt Utkarsh Gupta 4-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9).


Doubles: Final: Abhishek Yadav/Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB) bt Ravindra Kotiyan/Siddesh Pande (Mah) 3-2 (11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-8).


Youth Girls (Singles): Final:  Manika Batra (PSPB) bt Charvi Kawle (Mah) 4-1 (10-12, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9, 11-3); Semifinals: Manika Batra bt Archana Kamath 4-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-8, 11-9), Charvi Kawle bt Senohra D’Souza 4-3 (3-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 15-13, 22-20).


Doubles: Final: Senhora D’Souza/Reeth Rishya (PSPB) bt Mallika Bhandarkar/Charvi Kawle (Mah) 3-2 (11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6).


Junior Boys (Singles): Final: Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) bt Utkarsh Gupta 4-1 (9-11, 11-6, 13-11, 13-11, 11-7); Semifinals: Manav Thakkar bt Sanish Ambekar 4-3 (2-11, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 3-11, 11-9,11-6, Utkarsh Gutpa bt Lalrin Puia 4-2 (11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9).


Doubles: Final: Manav Thakkar/Birdie Boro (PSPBA) bt Sanish Ambedkar/Ravindra Kotiyan (Mah) 3-0 (11-8, 11-1, 12-10).


Junior Girls (Doubles): Final: Harshavardhini/Yashini (TN) bt Noor Badsha/Vaishali Katam (AP) 3-2 (11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8).