Event Section
Puia wins maiden title, Manika stamps authority yet agin


Dharamshala, November 29: Mizoram’s Lalrin Puia and Delhi’s Manika Batra claimed the Youth Boys and Youth Girls titles, beating PSPBA’s Manav Thakkar and West Bengal’s Kaushani Nath in the 77th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships at the Indoor Stadium here today. Both winners secured a similar 4-1 verdict to stamp their authority.


It was the first title for Puia, the PSPBA boy who turned out for his state, and came in what turned out to be a one-sided affair against Manav, who was tired after the Junior Boys final. The former, a defensive player, wore out Manav leading 3-1 before shutting his opponent out in the fifth game itself.


Manika, who has had a fantastic season, proved her mettle yet again beating the West Bengal girl after some struggle despite leading 3-0.  Kaushani tried really hard and brought down the margin but could nto stop Manika, whose calculated attack and defence paid off in the end.


Pande was up 2-0 but Manav made a quick recovery to equalize. However, Siddesh upped the ante in the fifth and sixth games, countering brilliantly. The counter did work to his advantage and Manav was wilting. Taking the cue, Pandey unleashed some excellent forehands, particularly in the sixth when he was 2-4 down. He made it 4-4 and then went from strength to strength to win 11-8 for his maiden national title. Unfortunately, last year’s champion Manav had to be satisfied with the silver medal.


Kaushani Nath led 3-1 and was just a game away from title when Selenadeepthi found her rhythm going to catch up fast with her rival in the final. In fact, the Tamil Nadu girl troubled Kaushani a lot to make it 3-all. But in the decider she faltered as she failed to press the advantage home and the West Bengal’s determination held good and she won comfortably.  


Patchy Kotiyan


Maharashtra’s third seeded Ravindra Kotiyan was not even half his self on this day against sixth-seeded Manav Thakkar who was in a roaring form. Having already entered the Junior Boys final, Manav was up to the task in Youth Boys semifinals. The fluency and confidence with which he executed his strokes, both back and forehands, bewildered Kotiyan who had been rendered clueless.


Manav, on the other hand, piled up pressure and the normally capable Kotiyan kept making mistakes which only made Manav’s job that much easier. In the end, Kotiyan could only rue his fate of letting off the chance go.


In Youth Girls’ semifinals, Delhi’s Manika Batra put herself in discomfort before catching up with North Bengal’s Sagarika Mukherjee and win the last three games to go into the final. Kaushani Nath of West Bengal beat her AAI rival Ayhika Mukherjee 4-1.


The semifinals between PSPBA’s Manav Thakkar and Tamil Nadu’s Ananth Devarajan in Junior Boys and the one between Yashini Sivashankar of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal’s Kaushani Nath were the edge-of-the-seat kinds. Ananth was leading 3-2—he won the fourth game on extended points—and put pressure on Manav. But the PSPBA boy, used to such tactics, never succumbed and did well to take the next game in a jiffy to level. In the decider, he continued the momentum to finish off in style.


As for Yashini, it was a good effort that went waste. She had a comfortable 3-1 lead and the onus was on her to wrap it up quickly. But the West Bengal girl came back nicely, dismissing any pressure or her opponent’s presence to take the next three games to shut out Yashini. Yet, it remained a mystery how the Tamil Nadu girl threw away the advantage.


Rajasthan pair rules


In Youth Boys doubles, Rajasthan’s second pair of Vivek Bhargava and Pankaj Vishwakarma—top-seeded Abhishek Yadav and Sushdanshu Grover bowed out in the semifinals—overcame West Bengal’s duo of Arjun Ghosh and Anirban Ghosh 3-2. In fact, the Rajasthan pair looked like finishing it off in the fourth game itself, comfortably leading 8-4 but let Arjun and Anirban level 2-2 after missing three match points. However, in the decider the Rajasthan duo played well to put it beyond their rivals.


In Youth Girls doubles, AAI’s top pair Sreeja Akula and Archana Kamath Girish downed teammates Ayhika Mukherjee and Frenaz Chipa 3-0 to win gold. In Junior Boys doubles, West Bengal’s pair of Anirban Ghosh and Abhimanyu Mitra defeated Tamil Nadu’s Ananth Devarajan and Sachinviswanath Sivaramakrishan 3-1 to lift the trophy.  In Junior Girls final, West Bengal’s pair of Prapti Sen and Surbhi Patwari blanked out Moumita Datta and Kaushani Nath 3-0.






Junior Boys Singles (Final): Siddhesh Pande (Mah) bt Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) 4-2 (11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8); Semifinals: Siddhesh Pande bt Manush Shah (Guj) 4-1 (11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3), Manav Thakkar bt Ananth Devarajan (TN) 4-3 (11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-13, 5-11, 11-1, 11-5).


DoublesFinal: Anirban Ghosh/Abhimanyu Mitra (WB) bt Ananth Devarajan/Sachinviswanath S 3-1 (11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5).


Junior Girls Singles (Final): Kaushani Nath (WB) bt Selenadeepthi Selvakumar (TN) 4-3 (9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 3-11, 11-5); Semifinals: Kaushani Nath bt Yashini Sivashankar (TN) 4-3 (6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-9), Selenadeepthi Selvakumar bt Shruti Amrute (Mah) 4-0 (11-8, 13-12, 11-5, 11-5).


DoublesFinal: Prapti Sen/Surbhi Patwari (WB) bt Moumita Datta/Kaushani Nath (WB) 3-0 (11-9, 11-9, 11-3).


Youth Boys Singles (Final): Lalrin Puia (Miz) bt Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) 4-1 (11-5, 11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 11-9); Semifinals: Lalrin Puia bt Arjun Ghosh (WB) 4-2 (9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6), Manav Thakkar bt Ravindra Kotiyan (Mah) 4-1 (11-5, 11-2, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5).


DoublesFinal: Vivek Bhargava/Pankaj Vishwakarma (Raj) bt Arjun Ghosh/Anirban Ghosh (WB) 3-2 (7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 14-16, 11-8).


Youth Girls Singles (Final): Manika Batra (Del) bt Kaushani Nath (WB) 4-2 (11-1, 11-2, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9); Semifinals: Manika Batra bt Sagarika Mukherjee (NB) 4-3 (11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-5), Kaushani Nath bt Ayhika Mukherjee (AAI) 4-1 (11-7, 11-9, 11-3, 7-11, 11-9).


DoublesFinal: Sreeja Akula/Archana Kamath Girish (AAI) bt Ayhika Mukherjee/ Frenaz Chipia (AAI) 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-5).