Thiruvananthapuram: Delhi’s Aadarsh Om Chetri, who is top-seeded in Sub-Junior Boys, has been guilty of often defying seeding and not making most of the opportunity. But the exception was when he outwitted Tamil Nadu’s Suresh Preysh Raj in the final of the North Zone at Sonepat to claim the title, thus earning the top slot in the national ranking with 135 points and the seeding here.
The Delhi paddler, who turned 14 today, would expect to put up another brilliant show in the final tomorrow in the UTT National Ranking(South Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Jimmy George Indoor Stadium here to justify his top ranking as well as seeding.
But the left-handed Suresh, who is seeded No. 2, would want to settle scores if and when both—they are the favourites—enter the final.
Among the other seeds that follow them—Divyansh Srivastava (UP), Sujan Bharadwad (Karnataka), Sarth Mishra (UP), Gaurav Panchangam (Mah), Shivam Chandra (UP) and Jash Modi (Mah)—in that order, Divyansh is a bright boy with a lot of potential but has failed to live up to expectations. Sujan, on the other hand, is very good on his day and lacks consistency.
The rest in the fray don’t have the wherewithal to challenge either Aadarsh or Suresh. Incidentally, The Tamil Nadu boy and the UP paddler are in joint second position in the ranking chart with 75 points each.
Similarly, Haryana’s Suhana Saini, who has been given the top billing, has had sweet-bitter memories in her Cadet days against No. 2 seed Kavyashree Baskar. But then the Tamil Nadu girl, with full of promise, has not justified her potential for over a year and a half. Even as Suhana has moved on with consistency, Kavyashree has not done so. In fact, she failed to go past the third round at Sonepat.
Yet, she is finding her at No. 2 position in the ranking chart with 75 points, behind Suhana who is leading with 135. The No. 3 seed, Sneha Bowmick of West Bengal, and No. 4 Kotecha Taneesha of Maharashtra, who finished a runner-up in the North Zone, are sailing together with 60 points each.
The other four seeds include Nehal Venkatasamy (TN), Lakshita Narang (Del), Pritha Vartikar (Mah) and Nilishma Sarkar (WB). They all have some way to go before challenging the likes of Suhana and Kavyashree. The Tamil Nadu girl finally won a title yesterday when she defeated Karnataka’s Shwetha Murittige of Karnataka in the final of TIE, an event recommended by the Sports Ministry to unearth talent.
Meanwhile, 48 players in each of the Sub-Junior Boys and Girls have qualified to make the main draw matches which begin later today. The Cadet Boys and Girls qualifications will also be completed on the penultimate day as the championships come to the business end tomorrow.