Event Section
Defending champs WB enter Junior Girls main draw


Sonepat, December 25: West Bengal were the first team to qualify for as their Junior Girls, after registering two wins in group A, entered the main draw of the 11Sports 80th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships at the DPS Hall here today.


West Bengal defeated Gujarat 3-1 first and then accounted for Himachal Pradesh 3-0.


With two rounds of matching having been completed in the section, the other teams to join the two were Uttar Pradesh (group F), Maharashtra A (group G) and North Bengal (group H). But the situation was tight in groups C, Delhi and E as leaders Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka lost their opening round before resurrecting themselves in the second round.


But Tamil Nadu girls, who began well to beat Kerala 3-0, lost their second round match to Assam 1-3, putting themselves in some sort of trouble. Similarly, Telangana lost to Maharashtra B 1-3, Madhya Pradesh to Haryana, also 1-3 and Karnataka to Delhi, 3-2.  But all is not last for the teams as two squads from each groups make the main draw cut.   


As for the Youth Boys and Youth Girls teams of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB), the group A leaders in both sections, made an authoritative start to assure themselves of their berth in the main draw.


The PSPB boys with Manav Thakkar, Jeet Chanda and Siddesh Pande in their ranks, had no problem whatsoever as they beat North Bengal 3-0 in the four-team group. In the other groups, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra A, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Telangana won their first round matches to be a step closer to reaching Stage 2.


However, the Karnataka boys made an awful beginning against Andhra Pradesh and lost their opening round 2-3 before picking themselves up in the second round where they beat lowly Daman & Diu 3-0, thus keeping their qualifying hopes alive in group H, consisting of five teams.


But Rajasthan, with two straight wins over Tripura and Daman & Diu are ahead on points at this stage but a clear picture will emerge only tomorrow morning when the last round matches will be complete.


In Youth Girls, with just the first round having been completed, the trend suggested that apart from PSPB, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra A, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, North Bengal and West Bengal as the teams that could top their respective groups. But the chances of teams like Andhra Pradesh (group B), Delhi (group D), Rajasthan (group E), Assam (group F), Haryana (group G) and Madhya Pradesh still looked good in Youth Girls.


However Madhya Pradesh began their campaign with a 0-3 loss against West Bengal, the group leader, in their first round. In contrast, Odisha beat Pondicherry 3-1 to keep their chances alive in the group but they will have to contend with West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh later today and tomorrow, in their second and third rounds.


In Junior Boys, PSPB Academy, Gujarat, Telangana, West Bengal, Maharashtra B, North Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra A were frontrunners to lead their groups, having posted their first-round wins.


The championships were formally inaugurated by chief guest Dr Prem Chand Verma, who is also the working president of TTFI.