Thane: Manush Shah of Gujarat won his second title this season when he made short work of Maharashtra’s Shubham Ambre in the Youth Boys final of the UTT National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Sulochana Devi Singhania School here today.
Manush, who won silver medal in the season-opener at Sonepat and picked the trophy in the East Zone at Howrah, won 4-1 with little resistance coming from Shubham.
The Maharashtra lad, who showed a lot of determination, especially in the quarters, went out of the equation despite taking the second game. Of course, both had a good exchange of rallies and counters but in the end Manush was flawless on the day.
In the semifinals, an off-colour Manush Shah struggled against Akash Pal of West Bengal who matched his rival’s skills before bowing ou 2-4. In the match that witnessed some long rallies, the Gujarat left-hander always had the advantage. But for Maharashtra’s Shubham Ambre, the match was as good as won when he confidently won the opening game after deuce against Haryana left-hander Wesley Do Rosario before consolidating his position. It was just a matter of time before he pulled the curtain on his devastated opponent.
The Youth Girls crown went the way of Moumita Datta of West Bengal, who defeated Anusha Kutumbale from Madhya Pradesh, 4-1 for her first crown in the season. However, it was a struggle for both Moumita and Anusha in the semi-finals as they ran into stubborn Maharashtra opponents in Manushree Patil and Swastika Ghosh. Yet, the two experienced paddler prevailed over them to enter the final.
Yashansh Malik defeated Shreeyaans Goel 4-1 in what had turned out to be a Junior Boys final between two Delhi boys, who know each other well. What separated them was the authority with which Yashansh played, especially after dropping the first game. His crispy forehand was as good as his backhand blocks and the winners he reeled out from the forehand completely unnerved Shreeyanns. He tried to undo the overall damage in the fifth game, but then it was too late as Yashansh won 12-10 to quickly wrap it up in the next.
In the semi-finals, Shreeyaans fought back well from the rut to outwit a tired Payas Jain, also from Delhi, in a tough match. In fact, Payas should have romped home winners after leading 3-1 and 10-6 up in the decider. But Payas, who had a long flight back to Delhi from Warsaw—he had helped Asian squad win team gold in World Cadet Challenge—and then to Mumbai, coasting along nicely until the left-hander seized the moment to outsmart his rival in the marathon.
As for Yashansh, it was a cakewalk against H. Jeho as the Mizoram boy lacked penetration and depth despite the ability to prolong the inevitable with his defensive tactics. However, the tall Yashansh was tactful enough to shut out whatever questions that his rival posed.
In Junior Girls final, Delhi girl Vanshika Bhargava missed the gold by a whisker after being in the driver’s seat at 3-1.
But credit must go to Karnataka’s Yashaswini Ghorpade who made most of her chance in the extended fifth game and went on to win it for the lifeline. And from there she never looked back. Yashaswini, who helped the Asian squad to a bronze medal at the World Cadet Challenge in Poland, was confidence-personified against the Delhi girl to add to her gold tally.