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Indian paddlers book Asian Juniors berth

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Indian paddlers booked their berth for the Asian Junior Championships to be held at at Jiangyin (China) after their dominant show on the second day of the South Asian Federation (SAF) Junior TT Championship at the Indoor Stadium, JN Sports Complex here on Tuesday.

In a roller-coaster ride for the young paddlers, the Indians made a clean sweep in all the team events. In the boy’s final Abhishek Yadav defeated his Nepalese rival Bilash Shrestha to put India ahead. Yadav started in style but became a little edgy in the second game to be extended a bit by Shrestha who for the first time led the game 10-9. The Indian, however, steadied himself to control his forehand smashes and win the game 12-10. There onwards it was Yadav’s show as he put India 1-0 ahead with a 11-5, 12-10, 11-3 win. Sudhanshu Grover then defeated Mani Lama 11-2 11- 6 11-6 before Vivek Bhargav completed the assault with a 11-6 11-4 11-9 win over Anish Shrestha to pocket the gold medal.

Meanwhile, the boys from Nepal would make their maiden entry into the Asian Junior Championship after clinching a silver here.

Sri Lanka who were considered major contenders to win the titles had to be satisfied with the qualification of their girl juniors to the Asian Championship.

Coach Sandeep Gupta while praising the Nepalese opponents said the competitive edge was lacking in the final. “It would have served our interests to have stiffer opponents in the final. That would have given us a chance to assess our strengths and weaknesses better,” he said.

The coach, however, warned that the Asian Juniors will be a tough competition and the boys will have to prepare themselves well to meet the challenge.

In other categories, which were played on single-group league formats, the Indians kept a clean slate against their opponents without losing a single game.

The results (team):

Boys’: Junior –

Final: India 3 bt Nepal 0 (Abhishek Yadav bt Bilas Shrestha 11-5, 12-10, 11-3; Sudhanshu Grover bt Mani Lama 11-2, 11-6, 11-6; Vivek Bhargava bt Anish Shrestha 11-6, 11-4, 11-9). Semifinals: India bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Nepal bt Pakistan 3-2. League: Group B – Sri Lanka bt Nepal 3-0.

Cadet – Nepal bt Sri Lanka 3-1; India bt Bhutan 3-0; Sri Lanka bt Bangladesh 3-1; India bt Nepal 3-0; Sri lanka bt Bhutan 3-0; Bangladesh bt Nepal 3-0; India bt Sri Lanka 3-0.

Final team standings: 1. India – 8 points, 2. Sri Lanka – (7), 3. Bangladesh – (6). Girls’: Junior – Sri Lanka bt Nepal 3-0; India bt Nepal 3-0; Sri Lanka bt Bangladesh 3-0; India bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Pakistan bt Nepal 3-1. Final team standings: 1. India – 8, 2. Sri Lanka – 7, 3. Nepal – 5. Cadet – Sri Lanka bt Nepal 3-0; India bt Sri Lanka 3-0.

Final team standings: 1. India – 4, 2. Sri Lanka – 3, 3. Nepal – 2.

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