Event Section
Encore for Sathiyan, Pooja joins elite band


New Delhi, August 7: Second-seed G. Sathiyan and third-seeded Pooja Sahasrabuddhe lifted the men and women singles trophies without much of a sweat in the LPS Bossard 47th All India Inter-Institutional Championships at the Table Tennis Foundation hall here today.


Their winning efforts fetched them Rs. 80,000 and Rs. 70,000, respectively. It was the successive title wins for Sathiyan, who blanked out Harmeet Desai 4-0, while Pooja claimed her maiden crown in a major tournament after accounting for national champion Madhurika Patkar 4-0.


The men and women singles finals as well as the semi-finals were similar in more ways than one. If the score-lines in the finals were same for the winners, the semi-finals scores in men singles were 4-1 and 4-2 in women; both the finals and semi-finals lacked the intensity and brilliance of the quarterfinal matches.


The men singles players may have warmed up more than required but Sathiyan took a little over 20 minutes to make Harmeet push and prod even as the winner kept finding winners after winners. Harmeet was absolutely in a daze and could not do anything against an in-form Sathiyan.



In women singles final, Pooja had very little resistance except being extended in two games. But Madhurika, who helped her team win title and doing so well until the final, was somewhat handicapped and failed to cross the final hurdle. Pooja, who won the first game comfortably, kept a nice tempo and continued it until the end.


Earlier in the day, the men and women singles semi-finals were similar in more ways than one. The 4-1 and 4-2 score-lines, respectively, for the winners apart, the intensity and brilliance of quarterfinals were missing.  


Sharath Kamal, who had an excellent run this season, was found wanting against Harmeet Desai as Harmeet kept hammering in winners. His backhand matched every stroke of Sharath and despite losing the opening game, Harmeet played really well to beat the top-seed. Sharath, when he conceded the 2-1 lead, it looked as if he had thrown in the towel. And that is precisely what happened as Harmeet went on to pile on the agony of the top-ranked Indian in the world who failed to keep the ball on table, culminating in his exit.


Sathiyan proved too good for Arjun, who managed to take a game off his rival. Against the pace of Sathiyan, Arjun was rendered clueless even as his forehand seemed to have deserted him on the day. He became more error-prone except perhaps in the second game which made Sathiyan’s job a lot easier.



Ankita Das looked like giving a good fight to the top-seeded Madhurika who dropped two games. But Madhurika gained ascendancy as she kept attacking Ankita to keep her out of the match. Even Pooja Sahasrabuddhe did the same to Takeme Sarkar, also from Siliguri like Ankita, but representing the Railways. The tone was set in the opening game which Pooja won very comfortably. However, Takeme came back nicely twice to tame Pooja for a while but the PSPB girl could not be denied her place under the sun as she upped the ante after Takeme took her second game at 13-1 to level the score.


In men doubles, the PSPB pair of Sudhanshu Grover and Abhishek Yadav combined well to beat teammates Sanil Shetty and Jubin Kumar 3-2. The left-handed pairs did well to come back after being down 0-2 but wilted in the decisive fifth game to end up with the silver medal.    


In women doubles, the RBI pair of Akula Sreeja and Ayhika Muherjee defeated their AAI rivals Moumita Dutta and Kaushani Nath 3-2 in a thriller. Down 0-2, the AAI came recovered to level the score but in the decider it was the RBI duo that pulled it off to win the title.




Men Singles(Final): G. Sathiyan (PSPB) bt Harmeet Desai (PSPB) 11-5, 11-1, 11-4, 11-4; Semi-finals: Harmeet Desai bt A. Sharath Kamal (PSPB) 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7, G. Sathiyan bt Arjun Ghosh (AAI) 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6.


Women Singles(Final):  Pooja Sahasrabuddhe (PSPB) bt Madhurika Patkar (PSPB) 11-9, 12-10, 12-10, 11-7; Semi-finals: Madhurika Patkar bt Ankita Das (PSPB) 5-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7, Pooja Sahasrabuddhe bt Take Sarkar (RSPB) 11-1, 8-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-7.


Men Doubles (Final): Sudhanshu Grover/Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) bt Sanil Shetty/Juin Kumar (PSPB) 11-9, 13-11, 10-12, 7-11, 11-3.


Women Doubles (Final): Akula Sreeja/Ayhika Mukheree (RBI) bt Moumita Dutta/Kaushani Nath (AAI) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 7-11, 11-5.