Excitement was at a premium as the heavyweight teams expectedly pounded the lightweight challengers to enter the knockout phase of the 40th inter-institutional table tennis championship at the Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.

Defending champion Petroleum, Dena Bank and Air India – the teams enjoying the services of the leading players of the country – stayed on course of retaining their places in the semifinals of both sections. The talented boys from the Airport Authority of India, former champion Railways and Food Corporation of India, too, advanced to the knockout stage.

By virtue of reaching the last-four stage last year, Petroleum, Dena Bank, Air India and AAI have been seeded directly into the men’s team quarterfinals. The remaining eight teams, including Railways, are in contention for the other four quarterfinal spots.

When the draw of lots for the pre-quarterfinals took place, Railways was distinctly lucky to find itself in the bottom-half of the draw.

This meant Railways had avoided meeting the mighty Petroleum in the semifinals. As things stand, Railways has a good chance to emerge as the top team from the bottom half for a place in the final and qualify for the National inter-State championship.

The pre-quarterfinal line-up is, Defence Accounts-BSNL; FCI-LIC; Railways-Indian Audit and RBI-Ordnance Factory.

In the ladies section, Petroleum (from Group A), Railways, Indian Bank (Group B), Dena Bank, AAI (Group C), Air India and BSNL (Group D) entered the quarterfinals. The eighth team in the quarterfinal will be the winner of the LIC-Ordnance Factory match from Group A.

The results (team championship, league): Men: Group A: Petroleum received a walkover from Coal India; Petroleum bt Ordnance Factory 3-0; Ordnance bt Coal India 3-0.

Group B: Dena Bank received a walkover from State Bank of Indore; Dena Bank bt LIC 3-0; LIC received a walkover from State Bank of Indore.

Group C: AAI bt Air Force 3-0; AAI bt BSNL 3-1; BSNL bt Air Force 3-0.

Group D: Air India bt RBI 3-0; Air India bt Postal 3-0; RBI bt Postal 3-1.

Group E: Railways bt Atomic Energy 3-0; Railways bt Defence Accounts 3-0; Defence Accounts bt Atomic Energy 3-0.

Group F: FCI bt Major Ports 3-1; FCI bt Indian Audit 3-0; Indian Audit bt Major Ports 3-0.

Women: Group A: Petroleum bt LIC 3-0; Petroleum bt Defence Accounts 3-0.

Group B: Railways bt Indian Bank 3-1; Railways bt Postal 3-0; Indian Bank bt Postal 3-0.

Group C: Dena Bank bt RBI 3-0; Dena Bank bt AAI 3-0; AAI bt RBI 3-0.

Group D: Air India bt Indian Audit 3-0; Air India bt BSNL 3-0; BSNL bt Indian Audit 3-0.

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