B D Narayankar
PUNE: Pune registered a win over Mumbai suburb 2-1 in the U-16 state badminton girl’s team event final at WIE Sports Complex here on Friday.
Pune was lucky to lift the title as Sai Purandare got a bye in the decider from Thane player Minti Kaur could not report for the match due to injury. At that stage, both the teams were locked at 1-1.
Pune’s Sanyogita Ghorpade lost to Thane’s Saili Rane 21-17, 17-21, 21-14 in the first match of the team event. Sanyogita Ghorpade and Sai Purandare combo against Saili Rane and Minti Kaur in the doubles final, however, won the next encounter.
However, Pune lost to Mumbai suburb in U-16 boy’s team event 2-1. Debashis Mishra beat Varun Sarode 21-18, 21-13 to give an opportunity for Mumbai suburb to lift the team championship.
Neeraj Mahajan gave a resounding start to Pune in the U-16 team event final beating Sushruth Karmadkar 21-8, 21-16. The tussle between the two kept spectators fixed to their seats till the end of the match.
Neeraj was in a tearing hurry, giving an impression that he was committed to some other important chore than wielding a racquet in the first game.
The ever-agile Neeraj played with honour and dignity for the district and played to the demands of his teammates who were expecting him to give a positive start by winning the first match. Precise with his tosses and drops, he foiled all designs of Sushruth Karmadkar by making him run all over the court.
Neeraj was quick to realise that Shushruth was moving slowly on both sides of the court. Capitalising on it, he offered a flurry of smashes and slices to collect important points.
What was exciting about Neeraj was that he never gave an impression that he was finding his opponent easy to beat. Nor was he predictable as he was teasing and tormenting his opponent with frustration-creeping drops, while at other times he engaged him in long rallies, which was discomforting.
Sushruth, on the other hand, was guilty of faulty service returns on quite a few occasions.
After winning the first game 21-8, the second was not a cakewalk for Neeraj. Sushruth bounced back with a vengeance. Trailing 9-13 midway, Sushruth tied up with Neeraj 16-16. He, however, could not maintain the resistance.
Neeraj just run away with the game thereafter maintaining a tight noose over Sushruth racing out to a 21-16 win and thereby winning the encounter.
The party of Pune was spoiled by a lackluster performance by doubles’ combo Neeraj Mahajan and Ishan Talwalkar, losing to rivals Deep Chitale and Debashis Mishra 19-21, 21-15, 21-15.
RESULTS: U-16 girl’s team event final: Pune bt Thane 2-1: Singles: Saili Rane (Mumbai) bt Sanyogita Ghorpade (Pune) 21-16, 21-17, 21-14; Sai Purandare (Pune) bt Minti Kaur (Mumbai) (bye); Doubles: Sanyogita Purandare-Sai Purandare (Pune) bt Saili Rane-Minti Kaur (Mumbai) 21-13, 21-16; U-16 boy’s team event final: Mumbai suburb bt Pune 2-1: Singles: Neeraj Mahajan (Pune) bt Sushruth Karmadkar (Mumbai suburb) 21-8, 21-16; Debasish Mishra (Mumbai) bt Varun Sarode (Pune) 21-18, 21-13; Doubles: Deep Chitale-Debashis Mishra (Mumbai suburb) bt Neeraj Mahajan-Ishan Talwalkar (Pune) 19-21, 21-15, 21-15.