INDORE, JULY 17,
Third seed Raegan Albuquerque of Maharashtra and Anusha Kutumbale of Madhya Pradesh sprang surprises to walk away with the junior (under-18) boys’ and girls’ honours, respectively, in the 11Sports Central Zone National-ranking table tennis tournament on Monday.
On a day that tested the players’ fitness more than skills with the last four knockout rounds scheduled in six hours, Raegan and Anusha overcame all the challenges that came their way.
Eighth seed Anusha, having stunned top seed Swastika Ghosh of Maharashtra in the quarterfinal, weathered Poymantee Baisya’s challenge in the semifinal before stopping Prapti Sen’s charge comfortably in the final.
Unseeded Prapti appeared to be jaded and committed too many unforced errors against a consistent Anusha, who had her whole family cheering from the gallery.
Raegan, on the other hand, overcame the consistent and in-form Manush Shah of Gujarat in the final.
Having stormed into the semifinal of the men’s and youth boys’ section earlier in the week, southpaw Manush was a favourite for the title.
However, Raegan, overpowered Manu to emerge victorious.
So steady was Raegan with his powerful forehand top-spins that Manu was left stunned for a better part of the match that stretched to the deciding seventh game.
Raegan had a chance to finish it off in the sixth, leading 5-1 after having a 3-2 game advantage.
But Manu showed his class with a string of winners to stretch the game into the decider.
However, Raegan, having last won a National-ranking tournament way back in 2012 as a cadet (under-12) player, bounced his way back to end with tears of joy.
INDORE, JULY 17,