The Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) men's and women's teams asserted their dominance they were crowned national champions at the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championships.
Both the PSPB men's team and the women's team defeated Maharashtra 3-0 in the finals.
For the PSPB men, it was a silver jubilee occasion celebration — their 25th table tennis national title, and the PSPB women regained the title for the 16th time.
Maharashtra started on a positive note when Deepit R. Patil, Siddhesh Pandey and young Jass Modi provided the firepower to stretch their opponents. Deepit played brilliantly in the first game, taking two games off international Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
The latter’s experience saved the day as he staved off the threat to put PSPB up 1-0. Harmeet also dropped a game before shutting out an in-form Siddhesh Pandey.
Meanwhile, Jash Modi got his act together to put Manav under pressure in their clash. Manav lost the opener on extended points before hitting a nice rhythm. When the teenager stretched him again in the fourth, things became a little dicey for Manav.
Both Sharath Kamal and Gnanasekaran gave full credit to the two Maharashtra table tennis players. Sathiyan said:
“Credit to Deepit, he was brilliant and I made a few errors, too. It looked like the Maharashtra team in the good old days.”
Sharath, praising Deepit and Jash, said:
“Both are promising and possess loads of talent.”
PSPB women regain table tennis national title
For the PSPB women's table tennis team, it was all about regaining the national title they lost in the last edition of the competition in Hyderabad.
When Archana Kamath gave PSPB a fine opening, it became apparent that they would see the return of the team trophy to their cabinet.
Archna and Diya Chitale, both attacking table tennis players, never dropped their guard during their tie. It was Archana who brought accuracy to her blocks, adding teeth to the forehand attacks.
Diya, who did everything right until the semi-finals, failed to deal with a rampaging Archana, who shut out the challenges her opponent posed with a 3-0 triumph.
With a 1-0 cushion, it was a formality for Manika Batra in the second rubber. Swastika Ghosh, another attacking table tennis player in the Maharashtra ranks, could not get her act together against Manika, who was sharp on the day.
With Manika's backhand showing a remarkable improvement, Swastika failed to adjust to the pace set by her opponent.
In the third game, the Maharashtra girl fought well to stretch Manika. Swastika saved three match points in the bargain but Manika eventually won the fourth to seal another win.
Reeth Rishya then beat Anannya Basak in the third match of the evening to put the result in PSPB's favor.