Table tennis: Mumbai teenager Diya Chitale wins U-19 title in Peru

India’s teenage rising table tennis star Diya Chitale won the gold medal in the U-19 Girls’ singles event of the WTT Youth Contender Lima 2022, beating Colombia’s Juhana Lozada 3-0 in the final.

The Mumbai-based Diya scored an authoritative win against Juliana Lozada 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 in 31 minutes at the Villa Deportiva Nacional, Lima, Peru, on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Diya, was dominant from the opening round and progressed to the winner’s podium without dropping a game.

The high point of her success was her fluent victory against Laura Watanabe of Brazil, the current South American Youth Champion in the quarterfinals. Diya completed a quick 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 win in a little over 30 minutes. In the penultimate round, Diya defeated Brianna Burgos of Puerto Rico 11-5, 11-2, 11-5.

“I feel really great, this is the first time that I’ve won a WTT event, so it is very good for my career and I feel very happy. I prepared very well. I focused on each match and had also analysed my opponents that is why I played so well,” a jubilant Diya was quoted as saying in a release on Sunday.

After winning multiple Bronze medals in the U-19 Girls events over the last year, Diya finally managed to go the distance this time in Peru to win her first WTT title.

Diya has also been taking giant strides in the Women’s category on the Indian National circuit. In the recently concluded National season, Diya ended as India Rank 3 in the women’s category, thereby being eligible for selection to the Commonwealth Games team.

Her performances in the national circuit include winning the gold medal in the National Ranking Tournament in Indore in January 2022, and her first-ever women’s title at age 18. In the National Championships in Shillong in April 2022, Diya won the bronze medal in the women’s doubles event and the silver medal in the women’s team event. In recognition of her consistent performance, she was declared the Best Junior Player participating in the senior nationals.

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