Indian boys led the country's dominance in the South Asian junior table tennis championship entering the under-18 team semifinals with an all-win record here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex on Sunday.
As for the junior girls', cadet boys' and girls' categories, the host's teams continued the winning trend. Unlike in the junior boys' section, which is played in two stages, the other team events are decided in a round-robin league format. Here the teams will meet each other to decide the top three positions on the basis of points.
The Indian boys' team, comprising Sudhanshu Grover, Abhishek Yadav, Vivek Bhargava and R. Anandraj, first defeated Bhutan 3-0 and then ended the challenge of Pakistan with equal authority to repeat the scoreline. India, which topped the Group A league, will now take on the team which finishes second in Group B in the semifinals.
Contrary to expectations, it was not a cakewalk for the Indian boys against both Bhutan and Pakistan. Though the home team was extended to the fourth game only once in its two matches — where R. Anandraj lost his second game before winning 3-1 against Khurshid Tabish of Pakistan — there were some hiccups for both Bhargava and Grover, who were extended after gaining good positions.
T. Reeth Rishya, the top junior of the country, played the lead role in the girls' team event as she anchored both the wins against Pakistan and Bangladesh to keep India on top of the league standings.
Boys: Junior: Group A: India bt Bhutan 3-0; India bt Pakistan 3-0. Group B: Nepal bt Bangladesh 3-0; Bangladesh bt Sri Lanka 3-0.
Cadet: First round: India bt Bangladesh 3-0; Bhutan bt Nepal 3-0. Second round: Bangladesh bt Bhutan 3-0.
Girls: Junior: First round: India bt Pakistan 3-0; Nepal bt Bangladesh 3-0. Second round: Bangladesh bt Pakistan 3-2. Third round: India bt Bangladesh 3-0; Sri Lanka bt Pakistan 3-0.
Cadet: First round: India bt Nepal 3-0.