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‘Double delight' for PSPB

Rakesh Rao
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THE WINNERS: Members of the Petroleum men's and women's teams after retaining the titles in the National badminton championship at Rohtak on Wednesday. — PHOTO: RAKESH RAO
THE WINNERS: Members of the Petroleum men's and women's teams after retaining the titles in the National badminton championship at Rohtak on Wednesday. — PHOTO: RAKESH RAO

Railways bore the brunt of Petroleum's business-like approach and surrendered without managing a single game in the two team finals of the 75th National badminton championship here on Thursday.

Less than 15 hours after Andhra Pradesh boys almost ended Petroleum's decade-long supremacy in the semifinals, the champion institutional team produced its best for a ‘double delight.' This was Petroleum's 12th successive triumph in both sections since 1999.

Ruthless

National champion Chetan Anand was ruthless with Kiran Kumar in the opening singles before P. Kashyap chose to spend more time on the court against fellow-Andhra player Vinay Kumar Reddy. Kashyap did just enough to break away for a 21-16, 21-14 victory after Vinay had some encouraging moments in the first half of each game.

In doubles, specialist Rupesh Kumar and non-regular Arvind Bhat encountered some tense moments in the opening game against Anil Kumar Raju and T. Dinesh but made it far more comfortably in the second to close the tie.

At the adjacent court, the Petroleum women too were far from threatened. Against Anita Ohlan, National champion Trupti Murgunde twice tossed away three-point leads early in the match to trail 6-9. Thereafter, she caught up at 13 and never trailed in the remainder of this one-sided contest.

Hardly tested

The seasoned pair of Shruti Kurien and Aparna Balan was hardly tested by Anita and Dhanya Nair.

Meanwhile, the draw for the individual events was released with the men's second seed and two-time champion Anup Sridhar, fourth seed Rohan Castelino, and fifth seed Saurabh Varma facing the danger of making premature exits in the round of 16.

Anup, who lost to K. Srikanth on Wednesday, is tipped to play in-form junior B. Sai Praneeth, seeded 16 in the pre-quarterfinals. A victory will test Anup against the winner of the match between two upbeat talents, Guru Sai Dutt and H.S. Prannoy, in the fourth quarter of the draw.

In the third quarter, Castelino is drawn to face World No. 25 P. Kashyap, who is seeded 13th due to lack of domestic ranking points.

Kashyap, who is being seen as an overwhelming favourite of the title, is also expected to end the campaign of the winner of the pre-quarterfinal clash between seventh seed Ajay Jayaram and 12th seed Sumeet Reddy.

Varma runs into proven talent Aditya Prakash, seeded 14 in the pre-quarterfinals, with the winner drawn to play top seed and defending champion Chetan Anand.

Among the women, third seed Neha Pandit is likely to find it tough to reach the quarterfinals past 12th seed Dhanya Nair. Seventh seed Aditi Mutatkar will have to deal with Sampada Sahasrabudhe for a place in the quarterfinals against second seed Sayali Gokhale, the 2008 champion.

With more than 10 State teams expected to arrive only on Friday, several first-round matches had to be rescheduled.

The results (team championship): Finals: Men: Petroleum bt Railways 3-0 (Chetan Anand bt Kiran Kumar 21-8, 21-9; P. Kashyap bt Vinay Kumar Reddy 21-16, 21-14; Arvind Bhat & Rupesh Kumar bt Anil Kumar Raju & T. Dinesh 21-19, 21-14).

Women: Petroleum bt Railways 2-0 (Trupti Murgunde bt Anita Ohlan 21-16, 21-9; Aparna Balan & Shruti Kurien bt Dhanya Nair & Anita Ohlan 21-10, 21-13) .

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