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Manav strikes a double; Manika retains women’s crown

Manav strikes a double; Manika retains women’s crown

Panchkula, Jul 10 (UNI) Manav Thakkar of PSPB enjoyed a double, winning the men

singles as well as the Youth Boys title in the 11Even Sports National Ranking(North

Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium here today.

In men singles, the PSPB lad stopped SFR Snehit of Telananga, who had a fantastic

run, to win 4-2, while Manika Batra stuttered her way to beat West Bengal’s Krittwika

Sinha Roy 4-3 to set the ball rolling in a new season.

This was Manav’s second crown after he won the first time the North Zone title in

Greater Noida last year when he beat RBI’s Raj Mondal 4-1.

Manav was under pressure, particularly after Snehit made it 2-2. But the PSPB boy

showed great confidence using those crispy backhand shots. He also used the flanks

well and responded to Snehit’s clever placings, particularly the ones down-the-line on

his backhands.

‘’I was under pressure because he (Snehit) was playing his first final and responding

well. It was for me to defend the title,” said Manav, who earlier beat Ronit Bhanja 4-1 to

annex the Youth Boys title.

The win was worth Rs. 70,000 in prize money while Snehit received exactly half the

amount for his efforts.

Second-seeded Manika should consider herself lucky as Krittwika held three match

points but squandered them all while the PSPB lass, despite missing her first, kept her

clam to leave the West Bengal dazed when she sent the ball out at 14-12 on her

second match point. It gave the Gold Coast golden girl a good beginning for the

season ahead.

Manika, who left off last season with a title win in the North Zone at Greater Noida,

received Rs. 60,000 while Krittwika had to be content with Rs. 30,000.

But the West Bengal need not despair as she, too, had made a good beginning

after a bad season last year. Along her way to the final she has had some thrilling

wins, including the one against Archana Kamath. In the final, too, she matched

Manika stroke for stroke and won alternate games to take the issue to the decider.

But then she only has to blame herself for not seizing the opportunities that came

her way in the shape of three match points. She was gutsy enough to save one after

Manika had a slight advantage at 11-10 with the serve on. But failed to use even the

third one when Manika deuced. Then it was a matter of two straight points which

Manika won to seal her rival’s fate.

It was a mixed result for Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath, both of whom had

qualified for the October Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Manav, who reached

the men singles final, rightfully claimed the Youth Boys title, beating Ronit Bhanja of

West Bengal 4-1. But Archana, the reigning Youth National champion, lost both

events—first the women singles and then the Youth Girls—at the semi-final stages

itself.

Manav was in a rampaging form and disposed of Ronit without wasting any time

which may have helped him conserve energy for the men singles final. But he would

be running into an in-form Snehit, who felled A. Sharath Kamal in the third round the

other night.

But it was a very bumpy ride for the Telangana lad who had a tough opponent in

fourth-seed Arjun Ghosh from West Bengal. So much so, Snehit began with a

two-game loss before regrouping himself to win the next. Arjun, however, had an

upper hand when he led 3-1 and he was nicely set up to wrap it with just one game

away from the final.

It was then that Snehit launched himself superbly to play some fine strokes, using

both flanks, to upset all Arjun plans. Gaining in confidence, he did not allow Arjun

another game to sew up a fine result.

The Youth Girls crown went to Akula Sreeja who accounted for Tamil Nadu’s

Selenadeepthi Selvakuar 4-2. After losing the opening game 13-15, Sreeja placed

herself in a comfort zone with a 3-1 lead before dropping her second game. Yet,

there was never any doubt about who the winner would be as the RBI girl hit a

nice rhythm in the face of a stiff resistance from Selena in the sixth game which

the former won on extended points.

UNI XC-PC BM

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