Petroleum’s twin triumph was always expected but the champion side made it with a mix of disdain and ruthlessness.
The host rested its stars of Thursday’s semifinals, K. Sharath Kamal and K. Shamini, in the two team finals of the 40th inter-institutional table tennis championship and yet thrashed the Railway men and the Air India women by identical 3-0 margins at the Indoor Stadium here on Friday.
Petroleum, which employs the services of all eight women seeds and five men seeds in the individual championship that opens on Saturday, demonstrated the depth of its teams while finishing the job on hand in style, winning each of the finals in under an hour.
The trio of Saurav Chakraborty, Soumyadeep Roy and A. Amalraj joined hands to complete Railways’ annihilation much the same the way as Mouma Das, Poulomi Ghatak and Madhurika Patkar did against Air India.
For the record, the triumph was 17th for the Petroleum men and 16th for the ladies team. The finalists in both sections qualify to play in the next National championship.
The men’s team final was pretty much as expected because Railways was not the strongest challenge for Petroleum, which had knocked out a formidable team like Air India in the semifinal.
Chakraborty, who like Sharath is an ex-Railway player and looked most impressive on this day as he got rid of young and erratic Aman Balgu in the opening singles. The stocky left-hander was not required to produce his best as Balgu could never bring his senior rival under pressure.
In contrast, Roy and Amal Raj won despite playing far below their potential. Roy, fresh from winning the season-opener South Zone title at Bangalore earlier this week, almost choked like he did against Sanil Shetty on Thursday. Despite being ahead in the second and third games against upcoming youngster Harmeet Desai, Roy lost these games.
Roy’s experience prevented Desai from avenging the loss suffered in the title match in Bangalore. Amalraj, much like Roy, was not required to produce his best to win on this day. The second best player in the country, Amalraj flirted with danger for the better part of the match but opened up comfortable leads.
Earlier, the ladies team final held no surprises as Mouma Das won the opener almost at will in spite of dropping a close third game to Mallika Bhandarkar. Poulomi, winner of all three major domestic tournaments this year, overpowered a late resistance by Ashlesha Bodas before Madhurika never looked in any serious threat against Prajakta Tipale.
The seedings (from Petroleum unless stated): Men: 1. A. Sharath Kamal, 2. Soumyadeep Roy, 3. Harmeet Desai (Rlys), 4. Zubin Kumar, 5. A. Amal Raj, 6. Saurav Chakraborty, 7. Soumyajit Ghosh (AAI), 8. Pathik Mehta (AI).
Women: 1. Poulomi Ghatak, 2. K. Shamini, 3. Madhurika Patkar, 4. Neha Agarwal, 5. Mouma Das, 6. Soumi Mondal, 7. Pooja Sahastrabudhe, 8. Nandita Saha.
The results: Team championship finals: Men: Petroleum beat Railways 3-0 (Sourav Chakraborty bt Aman Balgu 11-6, 11-7, 11-9; Soumyadeep Roy bt Harmeet Desai 11-6, 11-13, 12-14, 11-2, 11-8; A. Amalraj bt Anirban Nandi 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5).
Women: Petroleum beat Air India 3-0 (Mouma Das bt Mallika Bhandarkar 11-8, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9; Poulomi Ghatak bt Ashlesha Bodas 11-3, 11-7, 12-10; Madhurika Patkar bt Prajakta Tipale 11-3, 11-9, 11-5).
Keywords: inter-institutional table tennis