Panaji: The men from Delhi and women from Maharashtra emerged as champions to win the team championships gold in the table tennis events at the Campal Indoor Stadium today.
Delhi beat West Bengal 3-1, as did Maharashtra against Haryana in their final with an identical scoreline. Both had finished with a silver medal each in the last edition.
Sudhanshu Grover proved the talisman for Delhi as he led the charge throughout their campaign. Today, he provided the lead against Jeet Chandra for Yashansh Malik to consolidate as Delhi went 2-0 up when the latter beat Ankur Bhattacharya. But Jeet Chandra pulled one back against Delhi’s third player, Subh Goel. Yet, Sudhanshu returned to the table for the reverse singles and did his to perfection to help his state clinch gold.
The fourth tie kept everybody hooked to their seats as it witnessed some of the best and longest rallies one could crave. But Sudhanshu was in the best form of his life that he invariably finished the point. Diya began cautiously against Prithoki Chakraborty and nullified the 2-1 lead by the latter with stroke-filled action and precise placements. Though the tie went the distance, Diya seized a good lead in the decider to outsmart the Haryana paddler.
With 0-1 down, one expected Haryana’s star paddler Suhana Saini to provide them the inspiration. Bad rhythm and timing saw her commit too many mistakes as she pushed either into the net or sent the ball out. Though it made Swastika Ghosh’s life easy, credit must go to the Mumbai girl who played better on the day. Suhana’s late recovery did not make any difference to the eventual outcome of the tie.
Anjali Rohilla was the saviour for Haryana as the defensive paddler played on Anannaya Basak’s patience and tested her to the core. The never-ending chops from the Haryana girl put the Maharashtra girl off so much that she lost 1-3. The inevitable happened despite Suhana trying to retrieve the situation, to some extent, in the fourth rubber. West Bengal, the topper of Group A, entered the men’s team championships final after beating Assam 3-1. However, Delhi, topper of Group B, got stretched until the fifth rubber to break the deadlock, and Delhi won 3-2, but not before some scare.
Anirban Ghosh failed to take advantage of Jeet Chandra’s grand opening against Shankab Boruah. Anirban lost to Priyanuj Bhattacharyya 4-1, but Ankur Bhattacharya put West Bengal 2-1 up with a win over Anil Kashyap. In his reverse singles, Anirban made amends when he downed Shankab in straight games for a shot at the team gold.
Delhi, too, began well as Sudhanshu Grover provided the lead after beating Siddhesh Pande 3-0. But Siddhesh put up a brave front and troubled Sudhanshu, as the Delhi paddler had to weather the storm of all extended games. So intense was the rubber that Sudhanshu won the third game on the fourth match point.
But Maharashtra did not lose heart at the loss. In the second tie, the experienced Sanil Shetty outsmarted Yashansh Malik to restore parity, and Deepit Rajesh Patil consolidated the team’s position when he downed Aadarsh Om Chhetri in straight games to put Maharashtra just a tie away from the title round.
But Delhi’s No. 1 player, Sudhanshu, again played the pivotal role to level the score when he defeated the left-handed Sanil Shetty 3-1. A rusty Yashansh, who struggled in the first and fourth games, eventually saved the blushes to win the decisive fifth rubber and put Delhi in the final.
Maharashtra women faced no such threats from Madhya Pradesh and blanked them out with a 3-0 verdict as Diya Chitale, Swastika Ghosh, and Anannya Basak dropped just one game in the second tie before wrapping it up 3-0.
Haryana, who did well to reach the semifinal after some early struggles in the league phase, made the most of the chance to do even better against West Bengal. They won 9-0 as all three ties ended with 3-0 scores after a clinical job by Prithoki, Suhana, and Anjali,
The Results (Team Championships):
Men: Final: Delhi bt West Bengal 3-1 (Sudhanshu Grover bt Jeet Chandra 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5, Yashansh Malik bt Ankur Bhattacharya 1-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, Subh Goel lost to Ronit Bhanja 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 3-11, Sudhanshu Grover bt Ankur Bhattacharya 11-8, 11-6, 11-9).
Semifinals: West Bengal bt Assam 3-1 (Jeet Chandra bt Shankab Boruah 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9, Anirban Ghosh lost to Priyanuj Bhattacharyya 11-7, 5-11, 6-11, 9-11, Ankur Bhattacharya bt Anil Kashyap 11-3, 11-9, 11-6, Anirban Ghosh bt Shankab Borua 11-8, 11-9, 11-5); Delhi bt Maharashtra 3-2 (Sudhanshu Grover bt Siddhesh Pande 12-10, 12-10, 14-12, Yashansh Malik lost to Sanil Shetty 6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, Aadarsh Om Chhetri lost to Deepit Patil 4-11, 9-11, 10-12, Sudhanshu Grover bt Sanil Shetty 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, Yashansh Malik bt Siddhesh Pande 12-10, 11-5, 5-11, 12-10).
Women: Final: Maharashtra bt Haryana 3-1 (Diya Chitale bt Prithoki Chakraborty 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, Swastika Ghosh bt Suhana Saini 11-2, 11-2, 8-11, 11-8, Anannaya Basak lost to Anjali Rohilla 11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 5-11, Diya Chitale bt Suhana Sanini 14-12, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5).
Semifinals: Maharashtra bt Madhya Pradesh3-0 (Diya Chitale bt R.B. Niveditha 11-7, 11-4, 11-7, Swastika Ghosh bt Anusha Kutumbale 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, Anannya Basak bt Himani Chaturvedi 11-4, 11-9, 11-7); Haryana bt West Bengal 3-0 (Prithoki Chakraborty bt Poymantee Baisya 11-9, 12-10, 11-8, Suhana Saini bt Mouma Das 11-9, 11-4, 11-9, Anjali Rohilla bt Takeme Sarkar 11-6, 11-4, 11-3).