Young Mumbai paddler Diya Chitale displayed a remarkable fighting spirit to emerge champion in the U-17 girls table tennis singles at the Khelo India Youth Games here in Guwahati on Tuesday.
The junior and youth national champion Diya also bagged second medal of the day after she claimed the bronze medal in the girls doubles while playing alongside Swastika Ghosh.
In an all-Maharashtra singles final, the 16-year-old produced a stunning show of resilience to edge teammate Swastika Ghosh 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 3-11, 13-11 in a seven-set thriller.
The two youngsters battled hard in the enthralling summit showdown where the deciding final game tested their grit and stamina. While Swastika held the initial advantage to go up to 7-2 in the decider and even had multiple match points, it was Diya's strong determination and confidence that helped her make a winning comeback.
For Diya, who became first paddler from Maharashtra in history to win double crown in the youth and junior nationals last month, the win was even more special as she had to settle for the silver medal the last time.
“We know each other's games well and hence it was expected to be a close match. It was going well for me till the fourth game. I was leading 3-1 but then Swastika picked up her game and was going strong in the decider," said an elated Diya after her victory.
“I am very happy about the way I fought back in the decider and saved three match points. This win means a lot since I had lost in the finals at the last edition of Khelo India Youth Games,” added the Mumbai paddler, who is currently enjoying a career-high world ranking of 35 in the juniors.
Later in the girls doubles, Diya paired up with Swastika to win bronze medal for Maharashtra. Maharashtra's supremacy further highlighted by the fact that they finished as the overall champions in table tennis, riding on their rich haul of two gold, four silver and one bronze.
Maharashtra also bagged the state champions trophy in both U-17 and U-21 categories to end a memorable campaign on a high note.