India proved it has the best reserve of youthful talent in the region when it swept away all the team titles in the South Asian junior table tennis here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex on Monday.
The authoritative show by the Indian boys and girls — who won all four titles in the junior and cadet sections — indicated the sustained youth development programme of the Table Tennis Federation of India.
The junior boys’ team consisting of Abhishek Yadav, Sudhanshu Grover, Vivek Bhargava and R. Anandraj proved far superior to their opponents and won the title without having to exert much.
By finishing top of their respective categories, the junior boys and girls also booked their berths in the Asian junior championships, which will be held at Jiangyin (China) in the second week of July. With the top two finishers allowed a passage to the Asian juniors’ meet, Nepal booked a ticket to China in the boys’ section while Sri Lanka went through as the second best team from the girls’ section.
The Nepalese boys sprung a big surprise as they nudged out a strong Sri Lanka to ensure a place in the Asian meet.
The Indian hegemony was clearly evident in the way it blew away Sri Lanka in the semifinals and then Nepal in the title round with a similar 3-0 scoreline.
The Indian junior girls showed equally imperious form to clinch the title by winning all its four ties — in the single-group league format. The Indian girls, led by T. Reeth Rishya, never dropped a game on way to a triumph.
The other members in the Indian team — Mallika Bhandarkar, Priya Narasimha and Senhora D’Souza — played with as much authority to complete the dominance. Meanwhile, the qualifiers in the individual events began after the completion of the team events.
The results (team):
Boys: Junior (final): India 3 bt Nepal 0 (Abhishek Yadav bt Bilas Shrestha 11-5, 12-10, 11-3; Sudhanshu Grover bt Mani Lama 11-2, 11-6, 11-6; Vivek Bhargava bt Anish Shrestha 11-6, 11-4, 11-9). Semifinals: India bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Nepal bt Pakistan 3-2. League: Group B: Sri Lanka bt Nepal 3-0.
Cadet: Nepal bt Sri Lanka 3-1; India bt Bhutan 3-0; Sri Lanka bt Bangladesh 3-1; India bt Nepal 3-0; Sri Lanka bt Bhutan 3-0; Bangladesh bt Nepal 3-0; India bt Sri Lanka 3-0.
Final team standings: 1. India 8, 2. Sri Lanka 7, 3. Bangladesh 6.
Girls: Junior: Sri Lanka bt Nepal 3-0; India bt Nepal 3-0; Sri Lanka bt Bangladesh 3-0; India bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Pakistan bt Nepal 3-1.
Final team standings: 1. India 8, 2. Sri Lanka 7, 3. Nepal 5. Cadet: Sri Lanka bt Nepal 3-0; India bt Sri Lanka 3-0.
Final team standings: 1. India 4, 2. Sri Lanka 3, 3. Nepal 2.
Keywords: South Asian junior table tennis