New Delhi: Anukram Jain’s fantastic title win in the West Zone event at Thane helped him get the top seeding in the Sub-Junior Boys section of the Vatika National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships, being played at the Hansraj Model School here today. The championships are organized by the Haryana Table Tennis Association.
The Petroleum Sports Promotion Board Academy boy, who collected his second title of the season at Thane, had beaten Jeho Hinakulhpuingheta 4-1 in what turned out to be a one-sided final affair.
Anukram is, indeed, in fine form but the second-seeded Manush Shah of Gujarat could be the right contender here to challenge the PSPBA boy’s supremacy. Delhi’s Shivjit Singh Lamba, who is a product of Hansraj Model School where the championships are held, is the No. 3 seed here and has an onerous task of performing in front of schoolmates and teachers. It also means added pressure for the boy. Despite being in the final, Hinakulhpuingheta finds himself as the No. 4 seed. The other seeds that follow them at the end of the qualification rounds were completed include Goa’s Weseley Do Rosario (No. 5), PSPBA’s Alberto Lrruata (No. 6), North Bengal’s Jayabarta Bhattacharjee (No. 7) and Delhi’s Yashansh Malik at No. 8.
With over 1200 entries in the championships, the sub-junior boys alone counted for nearly 140 players and split into 40 groups. This meant only 40 group leaders joining the top-eight players in the main draw.
The qualifiers’ list presented some similarities with PSPBA leading the chart with five players figuring in the main draw, including two seeded players among them. Maharashtra, with two teams of A and B participating, also had five players in main draw fray with two being part of the directly seeded paddlers.
Gujarat has shown improvement in recent years and that was visible as four of their boys—Shoam Pandya, Chitrax Bhatt, Dhairya Parmar, Harshit Kothari, Karanpalsinh Jadeja—making it to the second stage event. Manush Shah is the fifth paddler, who has got a direct entry into the main draw and is seeded second here.
As for Wes Bengal, there are five players in fray, including the seeded Jayabrata Bhattacharjee while four from North Bengal have made the cut. Tamil Nadu, which has been doing consistently in other sections, had only three boys qualifying and Delhi, as usual, had its share with Maink Singh Ahluwalia, Kashish Bhargava, Payas Jain and Hardidk Khurana entering Stage 2 along with seeded Yashansh Malik. But unfortunately, only Shakreja Gourang and Ayush Tayal from Haryana, the hosts, have made the cut with Gourang figuring among top 16 players.
All the boys will have to play one round of their main draw matches tonight while the second stage matches in Sub-Junior Girls will take place tomorrow after the draw is taken place.