Event Section
Sharath returns to where he belongs


Manesar (Haryana), February 3: A. Sharath Kamal, for the first time in four years, has regained his top position when the singles seeding list in the ongoing 78th 11Even Sports Senior Nationals was released at the Manesar Sports Club here today.


This follows a resolution moved by the technical committee which wanted the players figuring in the top 100 bracket of the world ranking getting some security and motivation, besides adding the glamour quotient to zonal and national championships.


The committee had also suggested according equal weight to national ranking points and it would be concurrent with the world ranking.


The AGM approved the technical committee motion and, accordingly, Sharath was given the place of pride, taking into consideration his current world ranking at No. 62 and his title-winning effort in the South Zone Championships at Visakhapatnam. The three-time Olympian was ranked 59 in January 2017.  


Sharath ceded his top place for the first time in many years and was seeded No. 5 at the Raipur nationals in 2013. Since then the top slot has been shared by five paddlers—reigning national champion Anthony Amalraj, former champions Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty, G. Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai, in both national and zonal championships.   



In fact, Sharath had to play the qualifiers at Vizag since more credence was given to national ranking points. But since Sharath had not participated in any of the national ranking championships, he had no points and was forced to play the group matches. All credits to him that he went on to win the singles title there.


The technical committee has since met and corrected the anomaly, thus paving the way for restoring his pride. Incidentally, Sharath who was shunned by PSPB for the team event will turn out for them in singles. 


Sathiyan, who is leading the points table, is at No. 2, followed by Amalraj (3), Sanil Shetty (4), Harmeet Desai (5), Soumyajit Ghosh (6), Jubin Kumar (7) and Manav Thakkar (8).


In the men seeding list, six players including the top five are from the PSPB while No. 6 and No. 7 represent Haryana, the hosts.


Again, the women seeding list has six out of eight players from PSPB with Madhurika Patkar getting the No. 1 position. West Bengal’s Suthirtha Mukherjee, who was crowned as the Institutional champion and one zonal title, is seeded No. 2 while Pooja Sahasrabuddhe, representing Maharashtra, is seeded No. 6. Mouma Das (3), Mousumi Paul (4), Manika Batra (5), Reeth Rishya (7) and Ankita Das (8) are following Suthirtha.




Meanwhile, the first round group qualifying matches in the men and women sections got underway. The men and women players, minus the seeds, have been divided into 60 and 56 groups, respectively, with one qualifier from each group making the second stage grade.


All the group qualifiers will join the seeded players who have been given direct entry into the main draw which begins tomorrow. With competition department recommending on just three rounds per day, the penultimate day will see matches held up to pre-quarterfinals. The remaining three rounds—quarterfinals, semifinals and the finals—will be played on Sunday, the concluding day of the championships.


With attractive cash incentives awaiting top eight players in both categories, the intensity will heighten from main draw first rounds.