Bhavnagar: Preyesh Raj Suresh does not need a second invitation as he seizes every opportunity that comes his way. And the Tamil Nadu boy, who won the season's third Sub-Junior Boys title yesterday, also claimed his first Junior Boys crown when he beat Jeho Himnakulhpuingheta 4-3 in a thrilling final of the UTT National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships which concluded at the SAG Sports Complex here today.
Anusha Kutumbale from Madhya Pradesh, however, failed in her attempt to add her third Junior Girls title when she went down fighting to Poymantee Baisya of West Bengal 3-4. The West Bengal paddler ended the season with her first crown in the season.
Peyesh, unlike most others, took on his defensive opponent head on and without getting immersed into his rival’s game plan devised his own. The TN boy, too, kept returning whatever was sent at him and when he got the opportunity grabbed it with both hands with clean winners. Until Game 6, the pendulum kept swinging from one extreme to another, but Jeho was one game up at that stage. Yet, the Tamil Nadu boy played with purpose in the last two games to wrap up the win and the title.
Preyesh’s first winner’s trophy in the category came at the cost of state mate Vishwa Deenadayalan, touted as the favourite to win his fourth gold of the season. But he was certainly not in his elements and just one valiant attempt in the third game was not good enough. Preyesh, running an excellent form, finished the semi-final match without any more problems.
In the second semi-final, defensive Jeho Himnakulhpuingheta prevailed over the attacking Chinmaya Somaiya 4-2. After losing the two opening games, the Mizoram boy reassessed the situation and switched to a complete defensive mode, posing a lot of problems. Unable to adjust to the ball coming slow to him, the left-handed Maharashtra boy could not cope with it and, despite stretching his opponent in every way possible, he was not able to stop Jeho from moving into the final.
In the title-showdown, the MP paddler had won the North and South Zone titles before, was in discomfort but never showed it with a cool head. It helped her take a 3-2 lead but the West Bengal paddler came back at her and levelled the score. After that in the marathon decider, both had their chances but it was Poymantee who seized the moment.
Anusha was well and truly on her way when she coasted to a 3-0 lead against Prithoki Chakraborti of West Bengal. When the MP girl faltered in the fourth game, one thought it was an aberration. But Prithoki followed that win with her second in the fifth, too, giving a little scare to her rival. However, Anusha, made up for her women singles loss, to complete the task in style and enter the final.
Poymantee Baisya, on the other hand, began badly before settling down nicely to beat the stuffing out of her Delhi rival, Vanshika Bhargava. The West Bengal girl won 4-1 but third game which saw both girls losing three games points each. However, on the fourth game-point Poymantee sealed it in her favour to move ahead.
Junior Boys: Final: Suresh Raj Preyesh (TN) bt Jeho Himnakulhpuingheta (Miz) 7-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7; Semi-finals: Suresh Raj Preyesh bt Vishwa Deenadayalan (TN) 11-4, 11-9, 2-11, 11-6, 11-6; H. Jeho bt Chimaya Somaiya (Mah) 11-13, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-2, 11-9.
Junior Girls: Final: Poymantee Baisya (WB) bt Anusha Kutumbale (MP) 11-4, 1-11, 9-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 16-14; Semi-finals: Anusha Kutumbale bt Prithoki Chakraborti (WB) 11-9, 11-4, 11-5, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5; Poymantee Baisya bt Vanshika Bhrgava (Del) 6-11, 11-4, 17-15, 11-3, 11-9.