Alappuzha: Jennifer Varghese of Maharashtra emerged as the champion in the Youth Girls Under-15 category of the UTT 84th Inter-State Sub-Junior and Cadet Championships at N.C. John Memorial Arena of YMCA today.
She defeated Avisha Karmakar of Delhi 4-3 in a thrilling final for the maiden crown. The tall Jennifer, currently training in Chennai, matched stroke for stroke with the Delhi girl. Both treated the audience with crisp rallies and display of skills, off back and forehands.
But the Delhi girl had a distinct advantage when she led 2-1. But Jennifer hit back to go 3-2 up before owning the decider to stop her opponent well short of the mark.
But the best game of the final came in the opener. Jennifer held two game points at 10-8, but Avisha deuced. The advantage was with Jennifer, who won the game, converting the seventh chance. In between, Avisha had one, but she served out to squander the opportunity.
Jennifer collected her gold medal and Rs. 38,500 in prize money, while Avisha had to settle for the silver medal and half the amount.
Bhoota Raina bagged the singles title in her Under-13 category, adding the doubles gold medal, before losing the doubles final in Under-15 to the Delhi pair of Sayanika Maji and Avisha Karmakar in straight games. Of the four finals she competed in, she won two gold, one silver and a bronze.
All of these exemplified clearly that Bhoota Raina was, undoubtedly, the player that displayed her enormous potential. She lost the Under-15 semi-finals to state-mate Jennifer Varghese, who proved a better player at the table with great reach and won 4-2 to enter the singles final. But it was not before Bhoota had established a 2-0 lead. Jennifer, exposed to pressure situations as an international, was able to get out of the mire and win the next four games to enter the final.
Hence, the left-hander needs extra care and protection, like glass wool. Making the Under-13 girl compete in too many events could burn her out early. She is too young and wouldn’t even know about an acute match-pressure situation now. But as she grows, she will start feeling the heat.
The little girl from Maharashtra proved too good for her Bengal opponent Ahona, who showed little inclination to challenge her authority. In the second and third, she put up a fight of sorts but to no avail. The fourth was a formality for the left-hander.
In the doubles, she combined well with Divyanshi Bowmick and took the first game 11-9 against the Bengal pair of Ahona and Ankolika Chakraborty. After the 1-0 lead, the onus was on the Bengal paddlers to make a match of it. But the Maharashtra pair disposed of them quickly, leaving the lesser metal to them.
Also read: Delhi girls beat West Bengal to lift U-15 team trophy at UTT 84th Inter-State Sub-Junior and Cadet Championships
The Delhi pair of Sayanika and Avisha played far better in the doubles final than they did during the team event. But the two have had sufficient rest, unlike Bhoota Raina, who played continuously. Probably, her tired limbs restricted her in the final. Not to take away the credit from the Delhi pair that played brilliantly and stopped their rivals early in every game.
Youth Girls U-15 Singles: Final: Jennifer Varghese (Mah) bt Avisha Karmakar (Del) 17-15, 6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5.
Semi-finals: Avisha Karmakar bt Ikshika Umate (Mah) 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9; Jennifer Varghese bt Raina Bhoota (mah) 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-1, 11-5, 11-3.
Quarterfinals: Ikshika Umate bt Avani Tripathi (UP) 11-2, 11-9, 4-11, 16-14; Avisha Karmarkar bt Syndrela Das (WB) 11-9, 13-11, 9-11, 11-7; Bhoota Raina bt Vanshika Mudgal (Del) 11-5, 11-6, 11-4; Jennifer Varghese bt Sayanika Maji (Del) 11-7, 11-9, 11-6.
Youth Girls U-15 Doubles: Final: Sayanika Maji/Avisha Karmakar (Del) bt Divyanshi Bhowmick/Bhoota Raina (Mah) 11-7, 11-8, 11-7.
Semi-finals: Sayanika Maji/Avisha Karmakar bt Jennifer Varghese/Ikshika Umate (Mah) 11-7, 11-5, 11-5; Divyanshi Bhowmick/Bhoota Raina bt Vanshika Mudgal/Prisha Goel (Del) 11-9, 11-9, 9-11,11-8.
Youth Girls U-13 Singles: Final: Bhoota Raina (Mah) bt Ahona Ray (WB) 11-3, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5.
Semi-finals: Bhoota Raina bt Satya Aspathi (Telg) 11-5, 11-9, 11-6; Ahona Ray bt Divyanshi Bhowmick (Mah) 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9.
Youth Girls U-13 Doubles: Final: Bhoota Raina/Divyanshi Bhowmick (Mah) bt Ahona Ray/Ankolika Chakraborty (WB) 11-9, 11-5, 11-3.
Semi-finals: Bhoota Raina/Divyanshi Bhowmick bt Shreya Dhar/Prateeti Paul (WB) 11-6, 10-12, 12-10, 11-7; Ahona Ray/Ankolika Chakraborty bt M.R. Moksha/M. Ananya (TN) 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 9-11, 12-10.