Event Section
Manesar and Sharath prove a point; Madhurika is new women champion


Manesar (Haryana), February 5: Manesar has done it again. It not only added another first-time champion in Madhurika Patkar but also returned A. Sharath Kamal with his seventh national crown in the 78th 11Even Sports Senior Nationals at the Manesar Sports Club here today.


Sharath had won his maiden title at Manesar nationals 13 years ago when Haryana had hosted the event in 2003. A visibly tired Sharath beat an equally weary Soumyajit Ghosh 4-2 and Madhurika downed six-time national champion Poulomi Ghatak 4-0.


Their efforts fetched them Rs. 2.2 lakh and Rs. 1.2 lakh, respectiveluy.


The confidence he gained in the semifinals against fifth-seed Harmeet Desai had done a world of good as he went into the final against the two-time champion Ghosh. Sharath made a good beginning but Ghosh came back to take the next. The pattern continued until the fourth, but in the fifth Sharath accelerated and increased the lead with considerable pace. And in the sixth Ghosh lost steam and Sharath made it more difficult for the six-seed with a sizeable lead which he maintained throughout as the top seed was expected to do.


“Very satisfying,” said Sharath after the win. “I was very confident but feeling really tired. I knew Ghosh too sailing in the same boat, having played the doubles. Luckily, it helped me a bit. Manesar has proved to be my happy hunting ground,” said Sharath.


Reiterating on his earlier point, Sharath said he will continue playing the league in Germany for four months while giving himself four month each for the domestic competitions and his family. “Before Vizag I had a clear plan and I will stick to it,” he said.



Madhurika was understandably emotional as she went down on her knees when Poulomi netted. In fact, Poulomi crossed to the other side and patted on Madhurika’s back, whispering a few words of appreciation into her ears. Later, talking to the media, Poulomi said: “She played too good today. She is the deserving champion.” Indeed, These words, coming as they did from a  six-time champion, lent more credence to the top-seed who lived up to her position in the singles. Playing the final with all concentration and intensity, she kept Poulimi on a tight leash and it reflected in the first three games. However, as she approached the final moments, a few offer of high balls almost put her down but two good points in between took her at the doorstep of maiden win. Her joy knew no bounds when Poulomi’s feeble return hit the net.


Madurika took a victory lap of the hall and thanked all those supported her and then she joined the parents who were waiting outside the hall before calling her coach Shailaja Gohad. “Best moment of my life and culmination of a wonderful season,” said Madhurika who won both the season opening North Zone and season ending East Zone titles. She also gave full credit to her mental trainer Dr Nitin ……. “I knew I had everything to play and be on top but thanks to him (Dr Nitin) I was able to win today,” said Madhurika even as she recalled her husband (Omkar) and mother-in-law’s support in realizing her dream.




It was unlike Sharath in the semifinals against fifth seed Harmeet Desai. Leading 2-0, Sharath was expected to run through Harmeet despite the latter’s fighting abilities. But the top-seed played rank badly, committing far too many mistakes. On the other hand, Harmeet cashed in on and made a remarkable recovery.


Gaining in confidence, Harmeet piled on the agony of Sharath and led almost in all the next three games to go 3-2 up. There were a few occasions when Sharath kept himself alive in those games but was unable to convert any to his account. Harmeet netted three times on returns and kept extending the ordeal for both Sharath and himself. But the latter scored two very crucial points in the sixth which gave him a lease of life in the match.


In the decider, again the dice rolled in favour of Harmeet as he went 5-1 up and changed side. Then luck changed sides as Sharath, who was allowed some liberty, picked nine points on the trot to be 10-6. But serving for the match, Sharath put out the ball for Harmeet’s first point in a long time. From there he picked three more points to narrow the gap. Harmeet, receiving from Sharath, could have played the ball anywhere but his forehand hit the net cord and popped out, much to the relief of Sharath and his fans.


In the adjacent court, Somyajit Ghosh hit early form and maintained it to oust second seed G. sathiyan 4-1.


In women semifinals, Poulomi Ghatak disposed of sixth seed Pooja Sahasrabuddhe 4-0 without a fuss. Today’s was the best showing by Poulomi, who returned last year after motherhood.  And Madhurika Patkar stopped reigning champion Manika Batra, seeded fifth, on her tracks. Leading 3-1, Madhurika failed to finish off the match as Manika managed to take the fifth on extended points. But the top seed said enough was enough and shut her opponent out in the sixth.




The results (Prefix denotes seedings):


Men (Final): A. Sharath Kamal (Pet) bt Soumyajit Ghosh (Har) 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-8, 11-5; Semifinals: Sharath bt 5-Harmeet Desai (Pet) 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 10-12, 7-11, 14-12, 11-9; Ghosh bt 2-G. Sathiyan (Pet) 12-10, 11-7, 11-6, 4-11, 11-4; Quarterfinals: Sharath bt Subhajit Saha (Pet) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7; Desai bt 4-Sanil Shetty (Pet) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6; Ghosh bt 3-A. Amalraj (Pet) 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3; Sathiyan bt Devesh Karia (Guj) 8-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4.


Women (Final): 1-Madhurika bt Poulomi 11-5, 11-9, 11-5, 12-10; Semifinals: Madhurika bt 5-Manika Batra 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8; Poulomi bt 6-Pooja Sahasrabudhe 11-8, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8; Quarterfinals: Madhurika bt Krittwika Sinha Roy (WB) 11-5, 11-9, 11-9, 15-13; Manika bt Nikhat Banu (Tel) 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4; Pooja bt Shreya Ghosh (WB) 11-2, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9; Poulomi bt Archana Kamath 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-4.  


Men Doubles (Final): 1-Soumyajit Ghosh and Jubin Kumar (Har) bt Sushmit Sriram and Anirban Ghosh (AAI) 11-3, 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5; Semifinals: Ghosh and Jubin bt 4-Arjun Ghosh and Surajit Das (WB) 11-9, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8; Sushmit and Anirban bt 7-Sourav Saha and Mohit Verma (Har) 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7.  


Women Doubles Final: 1-Anindita Chakraborty and Sutritha Mukherjee (WB) bt 2-Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das (Pet) 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 11-3; Semifinals: Anindita and Sutirtha bt Maria Roy and Seraha Jacob (Ker) 12-10, 11-7, 11-7; Poulomi and Mouma bt 7-Sagarika Mukherjee and Takeme Sarkar (NB) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7.  


Mixed Doubles Final: 2-Arjun Ghosh and Sutritha Mukherjee (WB) bt 4-Sanil Shetty and Pooja Sahasrabudhe (Pet) 11-9, 11-5, 11-9; Semifinals: Shetty and Pooja bt 1-G. Sathiyan bt Reeth Rishya (Pet) 11-7, 13-15, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9. Arjun and Sutirtha bt T. Nitin and Swetha Kumaravel (Kar) 12-10, 11-13, 13-11, 11-8.