Dharwad, September 11: Manush Shah of the Airports Authority of India added yet another title, this time in the Junior Boys category, to his already overflowing cupboard when he downed Jeet Chandra of West Bengal 4-1 while Swastika Ghosh of Maharashtra outplayed Selenadeepthi Selvakumar, also of AAI, to score a similar victory and claim her maiden Junior Girls crown in the LIC-IOC All India National Ranking Table Tennis Championships (South Zone) at the District Indoor Stadium here today.
Left-hander Manush Shah, who is a recent AAI recruit on scholarship, was more consistent with his winners today than his West Bengal rival, who was rendered ineffective absolutely. Jeet, who felled Manav Thakkar in the semi-final earlier, was making far too many mistakes which only aided the boy from Gujarat.
Manush was attacking from the word go. Unable to counter, Jeet was pushed to the corner. So much so that even his normal blocks seemed to have deserted him like his precise forehand winners. Gaining ascendancy and piling on the agony of Jeet, the AAI lad was severe on anything loose as he went on to accumulate quick points.
Down 0-2, the West Bengal lad banked on his never-say-die attitude to repair the damage. He did succeed and won the third game but Manush was right on the money to pull the shutters down on him, taking the next two games to lift the glittering golden trophy.
Swastika, who is still a Cadet girl, was for the first time competing in the Junior section here. Having picked a few Cadet and Sub-Junior silverwares already, it was a wise decision for her to make a try in the higher section. And, she didn’t disappoint anyone, including herself.
Probably, the 4-2 quarterfinal win over PSPB’s Archana Kamath and later the semifinal riumph over state mate Srushti Halaengadi, also by a similar margin, must have given her the confidence and nicely set her up for the final showdown against Selena.
But neither Selena’s experience, nor skills could deny Swastika her title. This was in spite of losing an extended second game as Selena fought back well. But Swastika launched herself in the nick of time, showing great maturity and intensity. Selena wilted under pressure as her counters were not coming good. Soon, it was curtains for the girl from Tamil Nadu as the Maharashtra girl went from strength to strength.
Junior Boys Singles: Final: Manush Shah (AAI) bt Jeet Chandra (WB) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8; Semi-finals: Manush Shah bt Yashansh Malik (Del) 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-3; Jeet Chandra bt Manav Thakkar (PSPB) 11-7, 11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 11-6.
Junior Girls Singles: Final: Swastika Ghosh (Mah) bt Selenadeepthi Selvakumar (AAI) 11-8, 13-15, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5; Semi-finals: Selenadeepthi Selvakumar bt Ishita Gupta 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5, Swastika Ghosh bt Srushti Haleangadi (Mah) 11-9, 11-4, 3-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8.
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