Goa, December 16: Maharashtra boys and girls chose the right city and place to celebrate their early Christmas and New Year together as their ‘A’ teams picked three out of four titles on offer in the 11Sports 79th Cadet and Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships at the SP Mukherjee Indoor Stadium here today.
It was an unprecedented feat which the Maharashtra teams achieved, thanks mainly to three players—Dev Shroff, Diya Chitale and Pritha Vartikar—who shouldered the major burden of a dream-come-true performance.
For the records, the ‘A’ teams of Maharashtra beat PSPB Academy 3-2 in Sub-Junior Boys, West Bengal 3-2 in Sub-Junior Girls and blanked out West Bengal in Cadet Girls final. Tamil Nadu retained the Cadet Boys crown, beating West Bengal 3-0.
It was Dev, who has had a fantastic season beginning at the East Zone championships at Siliguri, fashioned the victory in the company of Deepit Rajesh Patil, particularly after pushing the defensive Jeho Himnakulhpuingheta to the brink in the opening tie. Then the lanky Deepit consolidated the position when he tamed Alberto Lrruata 3-0 before the PSPBA paddlers came into their grove to first take the doubles and then the reverse singles through Jeho. This was the time when both teams had had one of their hands on the trophy but Dev’s exemplary display of accuracy and ball placement against Alberto won his team the day and, finally, the trophy.
It was a similar situation for Diya when Munmun Kundu took the first tie against Mihika Rohira before the little girl brought her team back in contention when she defeated Sneha Bhowmick, in spite of two extended games, 3-0. Then Diya and Mihika lost the doubles from a position of strength to the West Bengal duo. But Diya held her nerves to restore parity with her fine attacking game, putting West Bengal’s No. 1 player Munmun Kundu under enormous pressure. Yet, Mihika had to play out of her skin to give Maharashtra the trophy. She did precisely that, despite losing the first game in the decider, as she clawed her way back to take the next three games and with that the crown for her state.
Pritha Vartikar, until then sitting on the bench as the fourth player of their Sub-Junior Girls squad, launched herself in the company of Taneesha Kotecha to clean up West Bengal in Cadet Girls final for the third title. Pritha, who has shown form and consistency, measured up to the expectations even as Taneesha did her job pretty well, first in the singles and then in doubles with Pritha.
But in this entire calamitous episode, the worst sufferers were West Bengal, who ended up the bride’s maid in three events, including in Cadet Boys when Tamil Nadu retained the title with a 3-0 verdict in what turned out to be a one-sided final. Balamurugan Muthu Rajasekharan, after dropping a game, beat Ankur Bhattacharjee. As if on cue, Preyesh Raj decimated Ayan Ghoh in straight games before the two Tamil Nadu boys claimed the doubles, also 3-0, against the West Bengal duo of Ankur and Emon Adhikari for their second consecutive crown.
Hosts Goa, who beat Kerala 3-2 last evening in a thrilling quarterfinal match, and PSPB Academy had to satisfy themselves with the bronze medals after losing their semi-finals to Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, respectively, this morning.
Sub-Junior Boys: Final: Maharashtra A bt PSPBA 3-2 (Dev Shroff bt H. Jeho 6-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6, Deepit R. Patil bt Alberto Lrruata 11-3, 11-8, 13-11, Dev-Deepit lost to Alberto-Jeho 5-11, 5-11, 9-11, Deepit R Patil lost to H. Jeho 7-11, 3-11, 9-11, Dev Shroff bt Alberto Lrruata 11-7, 11-7, 11-5).
Semi-finals: Maharashtra A bt Delhi 3-1 (Dev Shroff bt Yashansh Malik 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, Deepit R. Patil lost to Payas Jain 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 6-11, Dev-Deepit bt Payas-Arush Dutt 11-13, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9, Deepit R Patil bt Yashansh Malik 8-11, 12-10, 11-3, -11, 11-9); PSPBA bt North Bengal 3-1 (Alberto Lrruata lost to Jayabrata Bhattacharjee 4-11, 5-11, 6-11, H. Jeho bt Soumyadeep Sarkar 11-3, 11-5, 11-8, Alberto-Jeho bt Jayabrata-Soumyadeep 11-6, 11-6, 11-3, H. Jeho bt Jayabrata Bhattacharjee 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6).
Sub-Junior Girls: Final: Maharashtra A bt West Bengal 3-2 (Mihika Rohira lost to Munmun Kundu 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 6-11, 4-11, Diya Chitale bt Sneha Bhowmick 12-10, 12-10, 11-7, Diya-Mihika lost to Munmun-Anushka Basak 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 9-11, Diya Chitale bt Munmun Kundu 11-8, 11-4, 12-10, Mihika Rohira bt Sneha Bhowmick 3-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-6).
Semi-finals: West Bengal bt Karnataka 3-1 (Anushka Basak lost toAnargaya Manjunath 5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 8-11, Munmun Kundu bt Yashaswin Ghorpade 11-6, 11-8, 11-5, Anushka-Munmun bt Anargya-Yashaswini 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9, Munmun Kundu bt Anargaya Manjunath 11-8, 11-8, 11-8); Maharashtra A bt Delhi 3-0 (Mihika Rohira bt Vanshika Bhargava 11-5, 11-5, 11-7, Dia Chitale bt Tisha Kohli 11-7, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4, Rohira-Diya bt Vanshika-Tisha 11-5, 11-13, 6-11, 12-11, 11-6).
Cadet Boys: Final: Tamil Nadu bt West Bengal 3-0 (Balamurugan Muthu bt Ankur Bhattacharjee 6-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3, Preyesh Raj bt Ayan Ghosh 11-5, 11-3, 11-4, Balamurugan-Preyesh bt Ankur-Emon Adhikari 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).
Semi-finals: Tamil Nadu bt Goa 3-1 (Preyesh Raj bt Aarav Aiyar 11-3, 11-5, 11-2, Balamurugan Muthu lost to Shantesh Mapsekar 4-11, 9-11, 5-11, Preyesh-Balamurugan bt Aarav-Shantesh 12-10, 11-5, 11-8, Sreyesh Raj bt Shantesh Mapsekar 11-5, 11-8, 11-7); West Bengal bt PSPBA 3-1 (Ayan Ghosh lost to Arnav Aggarwal 11-2, 11-7, 12-14, 9-11, 8-11, Ankur Bhattacharjee bt Shlok Bajaj 11-7, 11-5, 11-9, Ankur-Emon Adhikari bt Arnav-Shlok 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5, Ankur Bhattacharjee bt Arnav Aggarwal 7-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5).
Cadet Girls: Final: Maharashtra A bt West Bengal 3-0 (Pritha Vartikar bt Srijita Shaw 11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, Taneesha Kotecha bt Sayani Panda 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5, Pritha-Arya Songadkar bt Sreeyasree Dutta-Sayani 6-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9).
Semi-finals: Maharashtra A bt Uttar Pradesh 3-1 (Arya Songadkar lost to Vartica Bharat 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 6-11, Pritha Vartikar bt Vaishnavi Yadav 11-4, 11-9, 11-4, Pritha-Arya bt Vartica-Vaishnavi 15-13, 7-11, 14-12, 11-6, Pritha Vartikar bt Vartika Bharat 11-8, 11-8, 11-3); West Bengal bt Karnataka 3-0 (Sayani Panda bt Vanshika Deshna 11-9, 12-14, 11-5, 11-8, Srijita Shaw bt Sahana Murthy 10-12, 11-9, 11-3, 11-8, Sayani-Sreyaree bt Sahana-Shwetha Murittige 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7).
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