New Delhi: Anukram Jain of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board Academy is in a zone of his own. Today, he completed his third Sub-Junior Boys title win this season when he beat Manush Shah of Gujarat 4-1 in the Vatika National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships, being played at the Hansraj Model School here on Tuesday.
The championships, organized by the Haryana Table Tennis Association, also saw Delhi’s Ishita Gupta annexing her maiden Sub-Junior Girls crown. The DPS, Mathura Road, student beat her Maharashtra rival Swastika Ghosh 4-1.
The Delhi girl, at last, justified her true potential and made a bold and emphatic statement against Maharashtra’s Swastika Ghosh in the final. Swastika, equally promising, could not do much against Ishita who displayed all her shots and exploited the angles well. With Coach Sandeep Gupta as advisor, it was all easier for the Delhi girl.
She had one hand firmly on the trophy when she went 2-0 up, both with minimal points. But Swastika showed a glimpse of her comeback ability and won the next. But Ishita proved too clever to shut her out with early leads in the next two games without allowing any liberty for her opponent to come closer.
Incidentally, Ishita won her first Cadet Girls title in the North Zone championships last time and the event is proving to be her happy hunting ground.
Anukram showed maturity right from the beginning and was a calculative mover against the tall Manush Shah, who won his season’s first title at Jamnagar. But since the Gujarat boy has gone down in his form and it was very much evident today against Anukram, who stopped him at 6 in the first two games. Though Manush managed to take the third, he was allowed just two points.
The pressure was telling on the Gujarat boy and the PSPBA rival simply took advantage and finished it off in style without any hesitation.
Payas, Suhani too good
Payas Jain had to wait for a full season to win his second crown. And today, the Delhi boy forgot all pressure and staged a fine recovery—he was down 0-2—to outwit the Central Zone winner Divyansh Srivastava of UP, 4-2. After losing the first two games very closely, Payas regrouped himself to win the next four games, just in 25 minutes.
Payas played extremely well, executing both his back and forehands well even as the UP was struggling to find his feet. But Divyansh also has to blame himself for committing too blunders at crucial times as found the net or put the ball out on returns more often than not. He could not pick himself up once Payas levelled the score.
It was so near and yet so far for Delhi’s Lakshita Narang as Haryana’s Suhani Saini, playing percentage game, outsmarted Lakshita who was 3-2 after being down 0-2. But But the Delhi girl missed several opportunities that could have been converted into winners. Suhana, sizing up the moment, cleverly mixed her guile—slowing down the game and pouncing on chances to score winners, particularly in the sixth to restore parity. In the decider, Suhana led quite comfortably and, despite making a few mistakes, held on to win her maiden title with a 4-3 verdict. Last year, Suhana had lost to Delhi’s Vanshika Bhargava in the North Zone final at Agra.
It was nice to see quality encounters in both boys and girls of the Cadet and Sub-Junior sections from quarterfinals onwards. Though no new faces emerged from them, a healthy trend followed with boys and girls renewing old rivalries and settling scores.
In a way, the competitive edge was visible among the paddlers and but for the few points here and there, the boys and girls were more or less sailing in the same boat, expertise-wise. However, what separated the winners from losers were those final nervy moments during which the winners showed gumption to adapt themselves.
Cadet Boys: Final: Payas Jain (Del) bt Divyansh Srivastava (UP) 4-2 (8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9); Semifinals: Divyansh Srivastava bt Vishwa Deenadayalan (TN) 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9, Payas Jain bt Varun Ganesh (TN) 13-11, 11-9, 12-10; Quarterfinals: Vishwa Deenadayalan bt Soumyadeep Sarkar (NB) 11-3, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, Divyansh Srivastava bt K. Yengkhom (PSPBA) 11-5, 11-6, 11-5, Varun Ganesh bt Rudra N. Ghosh 9-11, 9-11, 14-12, 13-11, 11-6, Payas Jain bt Tharun Shanmugham (TN) 11-6, 11-6, 11-6.
Cadet Girls: Final: Suhana Saini (Har) bt Laskshita Narang (Del) 4-3 (11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 12-14, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7); Semifinals: Suhana Saini bt Kavyasree Baskar (TN) 11-5, 11-8, 11-6, Lakshita Narang bt Anargya Manjunath (KNT) 11-8, 11-7, 11-7; Quarterfinals: Kavyasree Baskar bt Prithoki Chakraborty (WB) 11-2, 10-12, 10-12, 11-6, 11-5, Suhana Saini bt Nehal Venkatasawmy (TN) 11-4, 13-11, 11-6, Anargya Manjunath bt Sathvika Venkatchalapathi (TN) 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, Lakshita Narang bt Kheya Shah (Mah) 11-6, 11-4, 11-5.
Sub-Junior Boys: Final: Anukram Jain (PSPBA) bt Manush Shah (Guj) 4-1 (11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-2, 11-9); Semifinals: Anukram Jain bt Jeho Himnakulhpuingheta (PSPBA) 11-13, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5, Manush Shah bt Alberto Lrruata (PSPBA) 11-1, 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4; Quarterfinals: Anukram Jain bt Akash Pal (WB) 11-5, 11-6, 11-8, Jeho. H bt Harsh Srivastava (PSPBA) 9-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7, Aberto Lrrruata bt Shivjit Singh Lamba (Del0 6-11, 11-6, 2-11, 14-12, 11-8, Mnush Shah bt Payas Jain (Del) 13-11, 8-11, 14-12, 7-11, 11-6.
Sub-Junior Girls: Final: Ishita Gupta (Delhi) bt Swastika Ghosh (Mah) 4-1 (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6); Semifinals: Swastika Ghosh bt Manushree Patil (Mah) 11-9, 14-12, 16-14, 6-11, 12-10, Ishita Gupta bt Prapti Sen (WB) 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5; Quarterfinals: Manushree Patil bt Anusha Kutumbale (MP) 11-5, 11-6, 11-7, Swastika Ghosh bt Diksha Biswas (NB) 11-7, 13-11, 11-7, Ishita Gutpa bt Sasya V Subramaniyam (Telg) 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10, Prapti Sen bt Diya Chitale (Mah) 11-5, 11-8, 11-3.