Event Section
Juniors Raegan, Ishita carve out their niches


Guwahati, September 29: Raegan Albuquerque of Maharashtra made amends for the loss of title in the South Zone at Vijayawada beat a seasoned-campaigner Manush Shah 4-2 to lift his maiden Junior Boys trophy, while Delhi’s Ishita Gupta, on her first appearance in a final, wore the Junior Girls crown, blanking out Prapti Sen 4-0in the 11Sports National Ranking (East Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the R.G. Barua Sports Complex’s Indoor Stadium here today.


Raegan was on his way registering his first win at Vijayawada but two loose shots at the net cost him the title as state-mate Deepit R. Patil won the decider 13-11 to win the final. But in the final here, he did not make any such mistakes and played brilliantly, especially the last two games, to outwit his fancied rival Manush Shah.  


Raegan, who has had a long stint at the PSPB Academy at Ajmer, showed the greater resolve on the sultry afternoon, even after the Gujarat left-handed managed to level the score 2-2. But the fourth game win for Manush, one thought, must be the spark for him to hit his way through. However, the onus was on Raegan to thwart him and the Maharashtra boy played admirably—getting several winners in the bargain—to go 3-2 up. In the sixth, a frustrated Manush was seen spilling the chances which made things easier for his opponent. Grabbing the opportunities with both hands, Raegan inched ahead to win comfortably.


However, the win by Ishita Gupta was the real talk among the spectators at the stadium. Prapti, a Team India junior with all shots in her book, was a mere pedestrian in the final. In fact, she played a far better semifinal earlier in the day but surrendered meekly in the final.


When the Delhi girl started with a 11-3 win, it looked like one of those rare things. But she mounted pressure on Prapti and went from strength to strength. With a 2-0 cushion, Ishita did not relax, nor allowed any liberty for the West Bengal girl to gain ascendancy. In the end, the third game win propelled her to gaining courage and confidence to go all out in the next. Prapti, the winner of the South Zone crown, presented a pathetic picture with Ishita closing in on to deprive her the back-to-back title.


In the first semi-final, Raegan showed more maturity than Payas and it paid off as he won 4-0. Payas did all the right work, including running his rival close, but lacked the shrewdness to convert the endgame points. Except for the third game, where Raegan was somewhat comfortably placed, he won the rest of the games by the minimum points. It was disappointing to see Payas unable to take control of the game and surrendering.


Gujarat’s Manush Shah also did not toil much in the second semifinal in spite of having a bad start. He recovered from the loss quickly and went on to beat Yashansh Mali, another Delhi boy, who was no match to his opponent.


Local girl Trisha Gogoi could not withstand the onslaught of Prapti, though she did manage to win the second game. Whatever little resistance came from Trisha, they were in the first three games as Prapti was severe in the next two to wrap it up.


In a big surprise Delhi girl Ishita Gupta shocked Anusha Kutumbale to enter her maiden final.  Ishita was down 1-2 and had very little chance against the MP girl. But the way she fought back to stun her opponent was commendable as she forced Anusha in to making more errors than she normally does. Perhaps, the fifth game win at 12-10 did a world of good to Ishita’s confidence as she won the next with a lot of spare.


On the concluding day tomorrow, the finals in Sub-Junior and Cadet categories will be played.




Junior Boys SinglesFinal: Raegan Albuquerque (Mah) bt Manush Shah (Guj) 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8; Semi-finals: Raegan Albuquerque bt Payas Jain (Del) 11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9; Manush Shah bt Yashansh Malik (Del) 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6.


Junior Girls SinglesFinal: Ishita Gupta (Del) bt Prapti Sen (WB) 11-3, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6; Semi-finals: Prapti Sen bt Trisha Gogoi (Asm) 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-5; Ishita Gupta bt Anusha Kutumbale (MP) 7-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5.