Vadodara, Jan 5 (IANS) Rajasthan will look to defend their title in the team events of the 78th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships here from Friday.
Rajasthan won their maiden national title when their youth boys toppled a strong Maharashtra team 3-2 in Dharamsala last November.
Maharashtra, on the other hand, can make a match of it this time provided they ward off challenges from last year's semi-finalists Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Delhi too have a strong team this year with game changers Payas Jain and Yashansh Malik in their ranks.
An interesting battle is likely between North Bengal, the reigning youth girls champions, and West Bengal, who ended as runners-up last year.
The West Bengal squad has a new look with Prapti Sen joining Kaushani Nath and Moumita Datta. Yet North Bengal has the wherewithal to put up a good fight and win the trophy if Sagarika Mukherjee and Anushka Dutta can produce the goods.
The fare in junior boys, too, will be equally enthralling as West Bengal and Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) Academy boys are expected to maintain their supremacy.
But one cannot rule out the abilities of paddlers from Tamil Nadu or Delhi, the two semi-finalists, along with Karnataka, Telangana, North Bengal and Gujarat, who were the quarter-finalists.
As for junior girls, Maharashtra looks to be the team to beat though they finished runners-up behind Telangana in the last edition.
dm/sam/bgPublished 05 Jan 2017, 16:08 IST