Event Section
Ghosh youngest men's champ; Shamini regain women's crown


Raipur, January 12: Soumyajit Ghosh became the newest and youngest men’s champion at 19, denying six-time title holder Achanta Sharath Kamal another shot at the men’s crown and K. Shamini culminated her season on a high note by dethroning Poulami Ghatak from the high pedestal in the women’s event at the National Table Tennis Championships on Saturday.


The top-seed Ghosh beat 30-yearold Sharath 4-2 and took home the Maharaja Pitampura Cup, a bagful of confidence and Rs. 2.30 lakh for his efforts, while No. 2 seed Shamini won 4-1 to receive the Travancore Cup and carry a lot of self-assurance, valuable ranking points and Rs. 1.45 lakh with her.


Both Sharath and Poulami have to do a lot of introspection for the season ahead as they have the Commonwealth championships coming at New Delhi this May. But Ghosh will relish the victory over world No. 70, particularly for the way he came back into the final. After being 1-2 down, it required a lot of guts to do it against a player of Sharath’s experience and calibre.


The final saw a lot of rallies and counters but the Siliguri boy, who earlier beat last year’s singles champion A. Amalraj in the semifinals, continued with his impressive form. After winning the fifth game by a big margin, he was trailing 1-4 in the crucial sixth. But Sharath made several unforced errors, paving the way for Ghosh’s recovery. From there the match turned only one way.


Shamini was shaky to begin the final and was straightaway down 3-5. However, once she caught up with Poulami at 8-8, glow returned to her face as she went on to win the game 14-12 after three deuces. This really put her opponent down and despite returning and countering well Poulami was definitely pushed to the wall. Yet the Kolkatan managed to take the third game and that was the only consolation for her. Shamini had earlier won the Cup at Patna (2008) and Kolkata (2010) nationals.


Nervous Neha


Neha Aggarwal lost what would have been a golden opportunity of becoming the national champion for the first time when she squandered her semifinal chance against Poulami to go down 3-4. The Delhi girl should have won 4-2 but let Poulami level 3-3 and again in the decider wasted a three-point lead at 8-5 to let the chance slip away. Once Poulami made it 8-8 with her serve on, the PSPB girl cashed in on the prospect to go 10-8 up and on Neha’s second serve returned so well to complete the task.


Neha threw her racquet up in frustration and knocked off a few surroundings after the match. This act of hers warranted an explanation. Neha accepted her mistake and apologized for her misdemeanor to competition manager N. Ganeshan Iyer and was let off with a stern warning and deduction of 15 per cent of her prize money. Luckily, no ranking points were deducted.


Shamini managed to put it across Ankita Das in the other semifinal as he Siliguri girl was more erratic on the day. She started promisingly only to go down 1-2 before picking herself up to lead 3-2. But Shamini countered her PSPB rival well to shut out the challenge.


The Results:




Final: Soumyajit Ghosh (Pet) bt A. Sharath Kamal (Pet) 4-2 (3-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7);


(Semifinals): A. Sharath Kamal bt Sanil Shetty 4-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-2), Soumyajit Ghosh bt A. Amal Raj 4-1 (12-10, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4).




Final: K. Shamini (Pet) bt Poulami Ghatak (Pet)4-1 (14-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8);


(Semifinals): Poulami Ghatak bt Neha Aggarwal 4-3 (10-12, 12-10, 12-14, 11-8, 4-11, 12-10, 11-9), K. Shamini bt Ankita Das 4-3 (9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3).


Men doubles (final): Sourav Chakraborty and G. Sathiyan (Pet) bt Aman Balgu and Noel Pinto (Rlys) 11-5, 11-5, 12-10.


Women doubles (final): K. Spoorthy and Nikhat Banu (AP) bt Madhurika Patkar and Pooja Sahasrabudhe (Pet) 14-12, 3-11, 11-7, 11-5.


Mixed doubles (final): Utkarsh Gupta and Manika Batra (Del) bt Harmeet Desai and Frenaz Chipia (Guj) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6.