Rajasthan beat Maharashtra to win Youth Boys national TT title

Dharamsala, Nov 26 (IANS) Rajasthan won their second national title when their Youth Boys dethroned Maharashtra A 3-2 in a thrilling final of the 77th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships at the Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.

The Youth Girls title went to North Bengal when they defeated West Bengal 3-2 in an enthralling final to re-launch themselves on the national scene. However, West Bengal made amends in the Junior Boys final to lift the trophy, winning 3-2 in another close encounter.

The only team that retained the title was Telangana who won Junior Girls after rolling over Maharashtra A 3-1 in a one-sided final.

Rajasthan could pit all the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) boys with the latter not qualifying for the nationals here. It was a blessing in disguise for Rajasthan, who had just one — Junior Boys title won in 1986 in New Delhi — to show before.

But then Ravindra Kotiyan was the only hurdle they had to overcome. Unfortunately, the Maharashtra boy won both his singles but what made the difference was dark horse Vivek Bhargava. He won the crucial third singles against Sanish Ambekar after the scores were level.

Though Kotiyan beat Sudhanshu Grover in the reverse singles, left-handed Abhishek Yadav accounted for Siddhesh Pande 3-1 to seal the fate of Maharashtra, the winners last year at Alleppey.

Anuska Dutta proved to be the real clincher in the Youth Girls final as she started in whirlwind fashion to outsmart Kaushani Nath with excellent strokes, particularly severe on her backhand.

Experienced Sagarika Mukherjee consolidated with an easy 3-0 win over Moumita Datta but what brought West Bengal back in the match was their third singles which Manisha Mukherjee won, beating Puja Paul 3-2. But then Anuska did not waste time to shut out Moumita in her reverse singles to put the issue beyond West Bengal.

West Bengal regained the Junior Boys title beating PSPB A 3-2 in a gripping encounter. In an evenly contested final, what tilted the scale in favour of West Bengal was the crucial doubles which their pair Anirban Ghosh and Ronit Bhanja won 3-1.

Earlier Ronit had lost to Manav Thakkar but the West Bengal paddler managed to put it across Lalhunhlua, who had lost to Ghosh giving the advantage to the eventual winners.

Telangana beat Maharashtra A 3-1 to retain the Junior Girls crown. Maharashtra, who had won silver last year, could not stop an in-form Varuni Jaiswal, who won both her singles and then combined with Naina to keep the title.

If only Naina had not squandered four-rubber points in her singles against Manushree Patil, things would have got settled much earlier. Manushree too squared three chances but on the fourth held to take her first singles. However, she could not overcome the early rhythm that Varuni struck in their reverse singles.

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