South Asian Youth Table Tennis: Indians make a clean sweep of gold

Ankur and Suhana emerge U-19 singles champions

ITANAGAR, 17 May:  As expected, it was a perfect 10 for the Indian paddlers in individual events. Taking complete control of the proceedings in the South Asian Youth Table Tennis, India won all the gold medals on offer on the last day at the Dorjee Khandu Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.

Indians also bagged four silver medals in the singles.

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives were also among the medals winners while, Bhutan, which participated only in the singles events, drew a blank, Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) informed.

On the second day of the championship, the Indians won three gold medals in the U-15 Boys, U-19 Girls and U-15 Girls while, Nepal claimed the U-19 Boys Gold.

In the Under-19 Boys singles, Ankur Bhattacharjee defeated Payas Jain 4-2 to claim the gold.

The match had all the thrills of a final, befitting the occasion.

Both boys played aggressively and indulged in long rallies. But Ankur proved a better player on the day as Payas had to catch up with his rival after Ankur led 3-1.

The Delhi paddler did manage to take the fifth game, but in the sixth game, Ankur closed it out with minimal points to wrap up the final especially, after Payas’ backhand flicks not coming off at crucial junctures.

In the race for the gold in the Under-19 Girls’ singles, Suhana Saini defeated Yashaswini Ghorpade 4-1 in what turned out to be a one-sided final. Yashaswini was off-colour and could never pick Suhana’s deceptive service as the former netted more often, offering negative points to Suhana.

In the U-19 Girls’ doubles, Yashaswini and Suhana combined to beat the Maldivian pair of Mishka Ibrahim and Fathimath Dheema Ali 3-0 to bag the gold.

Similarly, the Indian duo of Divyansh Srivastava and Jash Modi blanked out Ridoy Mohutassin Ahmed and Bawn Rahim Lian to win the Boys’ doubles 3-0.

In the U-15 Boys singles, Priyanuj Bhattacharya defeated PB Abhinand 3-1 while, in the U-15 Girls singles, Jennifer Varghese was a run-way hit beating Avisha Karmakar 3-1 in their final.

As for the girls in the section, Jennifer Varghese and Avisha Karmakar defeated Nepal’s Sushmita Khadka and Subhashree Shrestha to take the top-podium position.

In the mixed doubles, Payas Jain and Yashaswini took gold, beating their Maldivian rivals, Akhyar Ahmed Khalid and Fathimath Dheema Ali, and the pair of PB Abhinand and Jennifer Varghese outsmarted Mohamed Akram Shafiullah and Kavindya Tamadi of Sri Lanka for the gold.

Later, attending the closing ceremony, Governor KT Parnaik complimented all the medal winners.

The Governor said that the SAYTTC – 2023 has ignited the minds and imagination of the youth of the state towards participating in sports in a big way.

Highlighting the importance of games and sports, he said, “Sports build team spirit, will power, the ability to face challenges and fosters friendship.”

“The state is honoured and privileged to host the event and it will be a harbinger towards Arunachal Pradesh finding its rightful place on the sports mosaic of our country,” the Governor added.

Responding to a memorandum submitted by Table Tennis Arunachal (TTA), the Governor assured the association (TTA) of a dedicated and permanent table tennis infrastructure with state-of-art facilities in the state.

Earlier, Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) secretary Kamlesh Mehta gave a brief report on the championship.

Education minister Taba Tedir, chief secretary  Dharmendra, commissioner to Governor  Ankur Garg, sports & youth affairs secretary Abu Tayeng and additional deputy commissioner-cum-CEO, SAYTTC  Shweta Nagarkoti attended the closing programme.

A total of 135 players, including officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and host India participated in the championship.

The event was conducted by TTA under the aegis of Asia Table Tennis Union, TTFI and South Asia Table Tennis Federation with support of the state government and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd.  (PRO to Raj Bahavan)