Table Tennis: Aadarsh, Pritha are national sub-junior champions

New Delhi, November 22, 2019

Delhi's Aadarsh Om Chetri downed Divyansh Srivastava of UP 4-2 in a tough Sub-Junior Boys' final to lift the trophy in the UTT 81st Cadet and Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships at the Indoor Stadium here today.
Pritha Vartikar of Maharashtra denied another gold to Delhi when she stopped Lakshita Narang’s march in the Sub-Junior Girls' final with a hard-fought 4-2 triumph.
Tamil Nadu made a harvest of nine medals—six gold, including in three team events, one silver and two bronze medals—while Maharashtra finished behind them with three gold, one silver and two bronze medals. 
It was perhaps the first time that Delhi failed to win a team medal but the individuals did well to keep it going for the national capital.
Aadarsh had to endure an attacking Divyansh who cashed in on several edges, particularly when the Delhi boy seemed relaxed. Even in the sixth game, he came close of a deuce point but Aadarsh stopped him with two crisp shots for the gold.
It was rather surprising that Preyesh played a completely subdued semi-final and could not perform the way he is expected to, leading to his downfall as the UP’s Divyansh Srivastava picked up a perfect momentum right from the word go. Somehow top-seeded Preyesh was unable to unlock himself from the clutches of his rival and forgot his own natural game which has benefited him all through. It was also not the first time that the TN boy, despite a wonderful performance throughout the National ranking events, got bogged down in the nationals.
Aadarsh, on the other hand, had to really counter a calculated Havish who was comfortably placed at 2-0. But the Delhi boy came into his own and started reaping the fruits soon after as he managed to stop the left-handed Maharashtra boy then and there.
Pritha was in her zone in the final as she hardly allowed Lakshita get a grip. Yet the Delhi paddler made valiant efforts to take the second and fifth games but with a 3-2 lead, the Maharashtra paddler, who had just one title win this season, wrapped it up quickly to end Lakshita’s ordeal.  
Pritha, showing remarkable improvement within a year, matched the guiles of Haryana’s Suhana Saini, the top-seed. With a 2-0 cushion, the boot was on the other leg and Suhana had to take the initiative. But then the Haryana girl did put up a better fight in the next two games but could not stop the inevitable happening. Like Preyesh, she too failed at an important national semi-final.
Delhi’s Lakshita Narang avenged her earlier loss to Taneesha Kotecha in national ranking events when she upped her game to the next level after being 0-2 down. The determination of Lakshita reflected in her game as she first levelled the score before dropping one more game. But she finished it off in style and converted to her advantage all the good rallies to take the fifth and sixth games.
P. B. Abhinand added the sixth gold medal—the only individual gold—to the Tamil Nadu kitty when he defeated Priyanuj Bhattacharyya of Tamil Nadu 4-1. The PSPBA paddler, who has three National Ranking titles to his credit this season, was not good on the day in spite of making it 1-1 after a bad start. However, he did stretch Abhinand in the fourth and fifth games which the TN boy won to complete the task.
Earlier, Abhinand arrested the surge of PSPBA boys as three of them had made it to the Cadet Boys semi-finals. The Tamil Nadu boy accounted for Divyaj Rajkhowa in a tough match, winning it 3-2, even as Priyanuj disposed of his academy mate Sehgal Singh, also by the same margin.
Jennifer Varghese of Maharashtra scored a come-from-behind 4-2 win to claim the gold medal in Cadet Girls final against Delhi’s Vanshika Mudgal. The Delhi girl, playing an exemplary game, had Jennifer on tenterhooks as the former led 2-0. But the Maharashtra paddler, who made it to the second final this season—she won her maiden crown at Thane—pulled up her socks to outwit her opponent. Slowly clawing her way back she claimed the singles trophy.
But the biggest surprise was Vanshika’s maiden entry into any finals this season. The talented Delhi girl defeated Anika Gupta, having upset India No. 4 Nandini Saha of West Bengal 3-2 late last night. Her confidence was in evidence today when she played an attacking game against the UP girl. She will take on Jennifer Varghese, India No. 3 and a real good talent from Maharashtra, who defeated M. Hansini from Tamil Nadu 3-1. Hansini, India No. 5, had been a revelation throughout this season and the little girl had beaten No. 1 Diya Bramhacahry in the quarters.
In Sub-Junior Boys doubles finals, Preyesh redeemed himself in the company of Navaneeth Kutty to win the gold as did their girls—Kavyashree Baskar and Nehal Venkatasamy. The TN boys defeated Delhi’s Aadarsh Om Chetri and Aditya Jain 3-1 while the Maharashtra duo of Taneesha and Pritha went down 1-3 to Kavyashree and Nehal.

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