Manush and Swastika winSeptember 12, 2017
Manush Shah had reached the semifinals of all five National-ranking table tennis tournaments last year, and lost narrowly in them. This year, he had lost in the quarterfinals of the National junior championship in his hometown Vadodara.
When he won the season opener, the LIC-IOC South Zone title — his first junior crown — defeating Jeet Chandra 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8 in the boys’ final at the District Indoor Stadium here on Monday, it was indeed special.
“My parents and coach told me ‘don’t be satisfied (reaching the final), go for the title. That motivated me,” said Manush.
Swastika Ghosh of Maharashtra-A, who had shocked second seed Archana Kamath in the quarterfinals, played a near-perfect attacking game to subdue Selena Deepthi 11-9, 13-15, 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 in the junior girls’ final.
A naturally attacking player on both flanks, Manush established his superiority in the first two games. A close- to-the-table player, Jeet could not absorb the pace of Manush’s power-packed strokes.
The third game saw Jeet blocking well and making fewer unforced errors.
Though he unleashed a few backhand drive winners in the fourth and fifth games, those were far between, and Manush’s shotmaking was superior.
This was Swastika’s first junior title too. Hers is a beautiful game to watch, especially her serve and the forehand.
The fifth-seeded Selena did trouble Swastika with her backhand side-spin serve in the second game.
Selena tried to engage Swastika in long rallies, but the latter was equal to the task; her forehand cross-court drives gave the player from Chennai little chance.
The results: Junior boys: Final: Manush Shah (AAI) bt Jeet Chandra (WB) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8.
Semifinals: Manush bt Yashansh Malik (Del) 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-3; Jeet bt Manav Thakkar (PSPB) 11-7,11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 11-6.
Junior girls: Final: Swastika ghosh (Mah-A) bt Selena Deepthi (AAI) 11-9, 13-15, 11-3, 11-4, 11-5.
Semifinals: Swastika bt Srushti Haleangadi (Mah-A) 11-9, 11-4, 3-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8; Selena bt Ishita Gupta (Del) 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 .