Alappuzha: The respective group leaders—Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana and Petroleum Sports Promotion Board Academy—occupied top positions and ensured their pre-quarterfinal berths from the eight groups. All these Youth Boys Under-15 teams collected eight points from two wins each in the UTT 84th Inter-State Sub-Junior and Cadet Championships after the first two rounds at N.C. John Memorial Arena of YMCA today.
Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat joined the leaders in the knockout stage as the second qualifiers from each of these groups.
After the main draw today evening, the qualifiers will play the pre-quarterfinals later tonight.
But more than that, the focus of spectators and teams was riveted on the Group of Death, the match between Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand drawing attention when the last Nationals bronze medallists at Dharamsala went down fighting in the second round to Uttarakhand 2-3. Group G results, in favour of Uttarakhand, may not help the northern state unless they beat Karnataka in their evening clash. Both teams have two points from one-win-one-loss each. The whipping horse, surprisingly, has been UP as Karnataka scored an emphatic 3-0 triumph against them.
Uttarakhand went 2-0 ahead in their match against UP when Saksham Mittal beat Veer Balmiki 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7 in the first tie. Aarav Negi followed it up with a 3-1 (8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5) over Parth Prabahakar. But the doubles pair of Veer and Parth salvaged their pride somewhat when they accounted for Saksham and Aarav 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 17-19, 11-9 to give a fresh lease of life. But it was of no avail as Aarav downed Veer 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9 to seal UP’s fate.
The match between PSPB Academy boys and Gujarat aroused interest as the former overcame a stiff challenge from the latter to win 3-2 in their second round.
As for hosts Kerala, they had a realistic chance of making the grade as they were meeting Punjab in their last-round match after losing to Haryana 3-0 in the first round. And the Kerala boys did that when A. Gourishankar thrashed Rajveer Singh 14-16, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 after trailing 0-1. R.S. Jayanth consolidated with 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 win over Advik Puri. When the two Kerala boys combined in the doubles, it was curtains for Punjab.
Group Results (Rounds 1, 2 and 3):
Group A: Assam bt Jharkhand 3-0; Assam bt Daman & Diu 3-0; Jharkhand bt Daman & Diu 3-1.
Group B: Tamil Nadu bt Himachal Pradesh 3-0; Tamil Nadu bt Madhya Pradesh 3-1; Madhya Pradesh bt Himachal Pradesh 3-1.
Group C: West Bengal bt Pondicherry 3-0; West Bengal bt Chhattisgarh 3-0; Chhattisgarh bt Pondicherry 3-0.
Group D: Haryana bt Punjab 3-1; Haryana bt Kerala 3-0; Kerala bt Punjab 3-0.
Group E: Delhi bt Chandigarh 3-1, Jammu and Kashmir bt Bihar 3-1; Delhi bt Bihar 3-0, Chandigarh bt Jammu and Kashmir 3-1; Chandigarh bt Bihar 3-0, Delhi bt J and K 3-0.
Group F: Maharashtra bt Rajasthan 3-0, Andhra Pradesh bt Odisha 3-0; Maharashtra bt Odisha 3-0, Rajasthan bt Andhra Pradesh 3-0; Rajasthan bt Odisha 3-0, Maharashtra bt AP 3-0.
Group G: Karnataka bt Telangana 3-1, Uttarakhand bt Uttar Pradesh 3-2; Telangana bt Uttar Pradesh 3-0, Karnataka bt Uttarakhand; Karnataka bt Uttar Pradesh 3-0; Telangana bt Uttarakhand 3-0
Group H: PSPBA bt Gujarat 3-2, Goa bt Mizoram 3-0; Gujarat bt Mizoram 3-0, PSPBA bt Goa 3-0; PSPBA bt Mizoram 3-0, Gujarat bt Goa 3-0.