Event Section
Qualifier Diya in prime form to worry title aspirants


Sonepat, December 28: Ambika Gupta of Uttar Pradesh and Poornima Rohilla of Haryana topped group 26 and 27, respectively, to enter the Junior Girls singles main draw in the 11Sports 80th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships at the DPS Hall here today.


There were some other interesting results, too, in the latter groups bottom-placed Vidhi Ameet Shah of Maharashtra B toppled three others in her group 32, including Angana Saha of West Bengal to qualify for the second stage as did Dipanwita Basu of West Bengal in group 36, Aarushi Arora of Punjab in group 43, Vanshika Yadav of Uttarakhand in group 42, to name a few, who surprised other players in their respective groups to make the cut.


But in the top 25 groups out of 48 the higher-ranked players occupied the top slots to make the grade where they will be joined by eight players, who have been given direct entries into the main draw.


With qualifications rounds still on in other sections—Junior Boys, Youth Boys and Youth Girls—the group qualifiers will be known tomorrow after they complete all three rounds.


Ambika Gupta, a promising left-hander from UP, was fortunate to be part of the group which consisted of three players and she first beat Radhika Sharma of Rajasthan 5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-9 in the first round and in the next cleaned up Ebakashi Rehani of Delhi 11-8, 10-12, 14-12, 11-8.


But it was a fantastic win for Poornima against Prithoki Chakraborti of West Bengal in straight games of 15-13, 11-8, 11-9 in the third round which took her to the top position ahead of favourites Prithoki. Earlier, she beat Bihar’s Nandini, also in straight games of 11-6, 11-4, 11-5.


Vidhi Shah accounted for all her three opponents, including group topper, Angana Saha of West Bengal 3-1 which put her in lead with six points to make the grade. As for Dipanwita Basu of West Bengal, her tough 11-13, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3 win against group topper Ananya Thakur of Punjab was the most important second round match which helped her overcome the qualification blues as she had no problems against both Aditi Sharma of Haryana and Sarmistha Das of Assam, whom she defeated 3-0.


Prapti Sen of PSPB, the top-seed in Junior Girls, is expected to meet Ansha Kutumbale of Madhya Pradesh, the No. 2 seed when the draw of 64 is made later tonight. But there players like Manushree Patil, who helped Mahrashtra A win team title and Swastika Ghosh of Airports Authority of India who can be handful and are also title contenders.


But one cannot forget the form that Diaya Chitale, also from Maharashtra A, displayed in their team’s win yesterday. Diya, who began her singles campaign as a qualifier, but topped group 3 is a hot contender for the singles title.