Soumyajit Ghosh becomes youngest National TT champion

Raipur, Jan 12 (IANS) Soumyajit Ghosh Saturday became the youngest men's National champion at 19, denying India's top player Sharath Kamal his seventh title while Shamini Kumaresan culminated her season on a high note by dethroning Poulomi Ghatak in the women's singles event at the National Table Tennis Championships here.

Top-seed Ghosh beat the 30-year-old Sharath 4-2 and took home the Maharaja Pitampura Cup and Rs. 2.30 lakh for his efforts, while Shamini won 4-1 to receive the Travancore Cup and a cheque of Rs. 1.45 lakh.

Ghosh will relish the victory over the world No. 70, particularly for the way he came back in the final. After being 1-2 down, it required a lot of guts to do it against a player of Sharath's experience and calibre.

On the other hand, both Sharath and Poulomi have to do a lot of introspection for the season ahead as they look forward to the Commonwealth Championships in New Delhi in May.

The men's final saw a lot of rallies and counters with the Siliguri boy, who earlier beat last year's singles champion Anthony Amalraj in the semifinals, continuing with his impressive form. After winning the fifth game by a big margin, he was trailing 1-4 in the crucial sixth. But Sharath made several un-forced errors, paving the way for Ghosh's recovery. From there on, Ghosh took control of the match.

Shamini was shaky to begin the women's final and was down 3-5. She caught up with Poulomi at 8-8 and went on to win the game 14-12 after three deuces. That really put her opponent down and despite returning and countering well Poulomi was pushed to the wall. The Kolkata player managed to take the third game and that was the only consolation for her. Shamini had earlier won the title in Patna (2008) and Kolkata (2010).

Earlier, Delhi's Neha Aggarwal lost what would have been a golden opportunity of becoming a first time national champion when she lost to Poulomi in the decider.

The Results:

Men (final) Soumyajit Ghosh bt Sharath Kamal 4-2 (3-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7); (Semifinals): Sharath Kamal bt Sanil Shetty 4-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-2), Soumyajit Ghosh bt Anthony Amalraj 4-1 (12-10, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4).

Women (final) Shamini Kumaresan bt Poulami Ghatak 4-1 (14-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8); (Semifinals): Poulami Ghatak bt Neha Aggarwal 4-3 (10-12, 12-10, 12-14, 11-8, 4-11, 12-10, 11-9), Shamini Kumaresan bt Ankita Das 4-3 (9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3).

Men's doubles (final): Sourav Chakraborty and Ganeshan Sathiyan bt Aman Balgu and Noel Pinto 11-5, 11-5, 12-10.

Women's doubles (final): K. Spoorthy and Nikhat Banu bt Madhurika Patkar and Pooja Sahasrabudhe (Pet) 14-12, 3-11, 11-7, 11-5.

Mixed doubles (final): Utkarsh Gupta and Manika Batra bt Harmeet Desai and Frenaz Chipia (Guj) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6.

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