Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Preyesh Raj Suresh, living up to expectations, became the new sub-junior boys champion of the UTT 82nd Cadet & Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships held at the Abhay Prashal here on Saturday. The Cadet Boys crown went to Nikkhil Menon from Tamil Nadu. He blanked out UP's Parth Prabhakar.
The left-handed top-seed, also from Tamil Nadu, won 4-1, relying on his forehand winners and bringing variations in his pace and service. On the other hand, Ankur Bhattacharjee struggled to cope with the pressure of a 3-0 lead for his opponent. Service faults and net-cord interference, too, cost him what could have been a fighting final.
The Bengal boy finally gauged the pace well, slowed down to win the fourth game. In between, one could witness some good rallies between the two and appreciation from the sparse crowd on the final day. In the fifth, both traded equal punches and the game some jitters to Preyesh. At 8-8, Ankur’s return hit the net cord, putting Preyesh in the lead. That was the opportunity the Tamil Nadu lad looked for as he completed the next two points when Ankur failed to keep the ball on the table.
In the Cadet Boys final, top-seeded Nikkhil Menon had very little opposition from the start to end. The final was a mismatch as the unseeded Parth Prabhakar from Uttar Pradesh failed to raise his game when it mattered the most. He surpassed all expectations to move up the ladder with a percentage game plan. However, he didn’t have an answer to the Tamil Nadu boy’s indistinct pimple rubber. Nikkhil’s control over spin, a disturbing factor for the UP boy, summed up his meek surrender.
In contrast, the UP paddler comfortably led 2-0 against Arya Kataria, a TTFI wildcard, in the second semi-final. Ajay took a game off him, but the UP boy upped the ante nicely to win the next two games. In the first semi-final, there were no free offerings from Nikkhil, despite Guru Sanjith managing to win the second game.
The prize distribution function was conducted in the presence of water resources minister Tulsiram Silawat. The event was chaired by Ramesh Mendola, president of the Madhya Pradesh Olympic Association and Arun Benerjee, general secretary of the Indian Table Tennis Federation. Vice president of TTFI Om Soni was present as special guest.
On this occasion, President of Indore Table Tennis Trust, Vinay Chhajlani, Jayesh Acharya, Monalisa Mehta, Dr. Vinita Kothari, Pramod Gangarade, Rinku Acharya were also present. The programme was conducted by Nilesh Vaid, while vote of thanks was proposed by Gaurav Patel.
Sub-Junior Boys: Preyesh Raj Suresh (TNTTA) bt Ankur Bhattacharjee (Ben) 11-6, 11-3, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8.
Semi-finals: Preyesh Raj Suresh bt Shankhadip Das (Ben) 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6, Ankur Bhattacharjee bt PB Abhinandh (TTTA) 12-10, 11-4, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6.
Cadet Boys: M Nikkhil Menon (TNTTA) bt Parth Prabhakar (UP) 11-2, 11-6, 11-5, 11-1.
Semi-finals: M Nikkhil Menon bt Guru Sanjith Vijay (TTFI) 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9, Parth Prabhakar bt Arya Kataria (TTFI) 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7.