For more than a year, Febin Dileep had been travelling to Ernakulam by train every day to play some quality badminton at the Regional Sports Centre. The youngster, from Velloor in Kottayam District, packed his bags, changed his school and moved to Ernakulam a few months ago.

He is now reaping the rewards. Febin, from the Toc-H Public School here, played a major role as Ernakulum won the under-15 boys' inter-District team title at the Kerala State sub-junior badminton championship on Thursday evening.

After winning the opening singles, Febin teamed up with school-mate M.R. Arjun to win the doubles as Ernakulam blanked Kannur 2-0 for the title.

Hard work pays off

“I used to leave school a little early, take a train, play at the RSC in the evening, stay overnight, do the morning session and then go back to school in Velloor,” said Febin. “I have more time for the game now after I shifted to Kochi.”

The tall and talented J.K. Malavika, the defending State sub-junior singles champion and India No. 14, guided Thiruvananthapuram to the girls' title.

Malavika had to sweat to stop Vidhu Nair before Thiruvananthapuram defeated Ernakulam 2-0 in the final.

The results (inter-District team championship finals):

Sub-junior boys: Ernakulam bt Kannur 2-0 (Febin Dileep bt Sankhya S. Kumar 21-15, 21-17; Febin & M.R. Arjun bt Sankhya Kumar & Nakul Mahesh 21-14, 21-3).

Sub-junior girls: Thiruvananthapuram bt Ernakulam 2-0 (J.K. Malavika bt Vidhu Nair 20-22, 21-10, 21-18; Malavika & Ashna Roy bt Cynda Percy & Shreya Bose 21-14, 20-22, 21-11).

Kannan in final

Meanwhile in Thiruvananthapuram, defending champion S.S. Kannan of Tamil Nadu overcame a spirited challenge from Manjush Mohan (Kerala) to enter the men's singles final of the IA & AD South Zone badminton tournament at the AG's Office Indoor Court on Thursday.

After losing the first set rather tamely at 13-21, Manjush took a four-point lead to go 11-7 up at one stage in the second set. But the top seed came back to level the scores at 16 and then pulled away to win the match 21-19.

In the final, Kannan will meet Sachin Rawat of Andhra Pradesh, who shocked second seed K.R. Shivakumar of Tamil Nadu. Rawat edged out Shivakumar 21-17, 18-21, 22-20 in a contest that went to the wire.

The Kerala pair of Ram C. Vijay and Manjush Mohan entered the doubles final, where they will meet Sachin and Akush of Andhra Pradesh.

The results: Semifinals: Men:

Singles: S.S. Kannan (TN) bt Manjush Mohan (Ker) 21-13, 21-19; Sachin Rawat (AP) bt K.R. Shivakumar (TN) 21-17, 18-21, 22-20.

Doubles: Ram C. Vijay/ Manjush (Ker) bt Shivaram/Anil Kumar (Kar) 21-8, 21-7; Sachin/ Ankush (AP) bt Jerry Martin/ Maran (TN) 21-17, 18-21, 21-16.

Veterans: Singles: Sirish Kumar (SCR) bt Mamman Kurien (Ker) 21-15, 21-18; A.V.S. Murthy (AP) bt Illaya Kumar (TN) 21-15, 21-16.