Prerana Shet brought laurels to the country by winning the gold medal at the 19th International School Federation (ISF) Games in Normandy, France on Saturday.
The 16-year-old Karnataka girl created history by capturing the women's singles gold medal on the penultimate day of the nine-day long prestigious event.
Prerana recorded a splendid come-from-behind win. The teenager, who hails from Sirsi, Karnataka, rallied back superbly to edge past Hsieh Yun-Shan of Chinese Taipei 12-21, 21-12, 21-16 in a pulsating summit clash.
Karnataka Under-17 girls singles champion Prerana did not have the best of starts in the final. The talented shuttler lost the first game quite easily as the Chinese Taipei player dominated initially with her powerful smashes.
However, Prerana staged a spectacular recovery to halt Hsieh Yun-Shan’s strides. She changed her tactics and began to play more positively, putting pressure on her rival. The change of tactics worked wonders as Prerana claimed the second game 21-12.
Prerana Shet kept her composure in the deciding game
The third and deciding game was a see-saw affair with both the players fighting hard for each and every point. Prerana Shet received brilliant guidance from Indian team coach Chetak Khedikar to grab the decider 21-16.
Coach Khedikar praised the efforts that Prerana put in during the entire tournament.
“I am very happy that we won the women’s singles final. Prerana executed my plans well and played an outstanding game today. The match was well-contested but Prerana kept her composure at a crucial juncture to seal the fate of her opponent. It’s a very proud moment for the entire Indian squad."
Nagpur-based Khedikar thanked the School Games Federation of India, Centre Point Group of Schools management, MBA, and NDBA for their support.
Another Indian shuttler, Nikkita Joseph, won the playoffs for seventh place with a gutsy performance on Friday. The promising Nagpur shuttler rallied back to down Tracy Justine Naluwooza of Uganda 19-21, 21-10, 21-8 to clinch the seventh spot.
More than 70 countries and around 3,500 participants competed in 20 sports disciplines in this event, held in France. Around 250 teenage players from India also took part in the ISF Championship.