Patna, Jan 12 (IANS): Young paddlers Sanil Shetty and Ankita Das made the Platinum Jubilee year Senior National Table Tennis Championships their own by winning the singles titles at the Patliputra Sports Complex here Sunday.
No. 2 seed Shetty defeated his PSPB team mate Harmeet Desai 4-2 and No. 4 Ankita Das, also of PSPB, drubbed AAI’s Krittwika Sinha Roy 4-0 to take home the winners’ prizes of Rs. 2.30 lakh and Rs.1.45 lakh, respectively.
Incidentally, Shetty is the first national champion to emerge from Mumbai after the great Kamlesh Mehta, who last won the title in 1995.
The most encouraging part of the championships was that the old faces faded away while two youthful heroes emerged on the horizon. Fortunately, the men’s singles had all the ingredients befitting a final, although the women’s final never rose to any dizzy heights.
The left-handed Shetty proved too hot for Desai who, in the morning, had upset all calculations and form to account for top player Sharath Kamal.
Desai, however, failed to raise his game in the final and his game lacked aggression.
In fact, Shetty was on a rampage right from the start which allowed little leeway to Desai. In a way, the latter was astounded by Shetty’s attack on both flanks, more so on his opponent’s faulty forehand. That paid rich dividends as Shetty reeled off winner after winner to unsettle his rival. For a brief period, though, Desai got his bearings back but once Shetty ran up a 7-3 lead and 10-5, it was all over for Desai.
One jarring note, however, came when the match was briefly stopped as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar walked up to the dais when Shetty was about to serve on championship point. Luckily, it didn’t cost him heavily except a couple of points he lost to Desai.
As for Ankita, she hardly broke a sweat against Krittwika and that is reflected in the score line against her AAI opponent in the women’s final. Krittwika was found wanting on many fronts and Ankita just exploited them to her advantage.
Making a mockery of the seeding yet again, No. 1 men’s player Sharath and No. 3 K. Shamini in women’s singles had bowed out without a fight.
Men: Final: Sanil Shetty (PSPB) bt Harmeet Desai (PSPB) 4-2 (11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7; Semifinals: Harmeet Desai (PSPB) bt A. Sharath Kamal (PSPB) 4-1 (13-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6), Sanil Shetty (PSPB) bt Soumyadeep Roy (WB) 4-1 (13-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-13, 11-6).
Women: Final: Ankita Das (PSPB) bt Krittwika Sinha Roy (AAI) 4-0 (11-9, 12-10, 11-8, 13-11); Semifinals: Krittwika Sinha Roy (AAI) bt K. Shamini (PSPB) 4-2 (12-10, 7-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6), Ankita Das (PSPB) bt Reeth Rishya (PSPB) 4-0 (11-3, 11-9, 11-3, 11-4).
Mixed Doubles: Final: Sanil Shetty/Neha Aggarwal (PSPB) bt Arjun Ghosh/Mousi Pal (WB) 3-1 (15-13, 12-10, 7-11, 14-12).