Boys take centre stage as Payas starts favourite
TTFI Event News 20th-Jun-2022
Alappuzha, June 20: With the three-day of the girls getting over yesterday, the Youth Boys in the Under-17 and Under-19 categories take centre stage in the Youth Girls Under 19 singles in the 83rd Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships at the YMCA facilities, from tomorrow after a rest day today.
The two new faces in Nithyashree Mani of Tamil Nadu and Taneesha Kotecha of Maharashtra, who threw the seedings topsy-turvy in both the Girls’ sections, amply demonstrated that a consistent performance alone mattered and nothing else to emerge champions. And what an accomplishment it turned out to be, throwing the formbook out of the window.
One cannot rule out a similar execution or feats in the two categories of the Youth Boys who own the two arenas at the YMCA for the next three days. Payas Jain of Delhi in Under-19 and Ankur Bhattacharjee of West Bengal in Under-17 start as the favourites to win the titles in their respective categories.
World No. 3 Payas—he claimed both titles in the last edition—was touted to win the Khelo India crown in Panchkula a few days ago. But he failed miserably, letting defensive H. Jeho from Mizoram earn it. Nevertheless, one can expect the lanky Delhi boy to get pumped up and turn in a performance that can make him proud.
However, the pressure at the championships is different, and he knows it better than most. Yet, he cannot be complacent. After all, statemate Yashansh Malik, Deepit Rajesh Patil of Maharashtra, Ankur Bhattacharjee of West Bengal, Varun Shankar Balasuri of Telangana, Divyansh Srivastava of Uttar Pradesh and Aadarsh Om Chhetri, also of Delhi, will be breathing down his neck. Of course, he cannot ignore Jeho’s presence as well. They will enjoy the first-day breather as the focus will be on the group events from which 56 qualifiers. They will join the top eight seeds in the knockout stages.
Aadarsh Om Chhetri, Divyansh Srivastava, and Ankur Bhattacharjee are the only three players that will be seen in action in the Under-17 section, besides the tough Under-19 category. Of late, Jash Modi of Maharashtra has been making the right noises with a sterling display and consistency during this season’s national ranking championships. They have all competed in the Khelo India table tennis events and must be itching to put up a worthy performance in the championships.
K.J. Aakash of Karnataka, Sarth Mishra of UP, and Preyesh Suresh Raj of Tamil Nadu do have the potential to topple any one of their peers on their day. But they do lack the consistency needed at the Nationals.
The competition department and its technical officials, after a day’s rest, begin their job with the same verve and enthusiasm to see through the last three days of the championships to wind up the season successfully. The officials will have to stay alert to overcome the difficult situation—439 matches are scheduled for tomorrow.