Advisor Bhatnagar presides closing ceremony; Sreeja, Sathiyan lift titles

Advisor Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar and others during the closing ceremony of Table Tennis Championship at University of Jammu on Monday. - Excelsior/Rakesh
Advisor Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar and others during the closing ceremony of Table Tennis Championship at University of Jammu on Monday. - Excelsior/Rakesh

Senior National TT C’ship concludes

Excelsior Sports Correspondent
JAMMU, Mar 27: UTT 84th Senior National and Inter State Table Tennis Championship concluded in Gymnasium Hall, University of Jammu today. The closing ceremony was presided over by the Advisor to Lt. Governor J&K, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar as chief guest who distributed prizes among winners and runner ups.
The tournament started on March 20, which culminated here today, wherein more than 900 participants took part with 34 men’s teams and 32 in women’s team section from all the States/UTs and institutions.
During the event, various international players including Arjuna Awardees, Khel Rana, Dhronacharya, etc were also felicitated by Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha on March 2.
The chief guest appreciated the efforts of Ajay Sharma and his organizing team for successfully conducting the championship and witnessed the men’s single and women’s single finals.
Prominent members of the Table Tennis Association including Kamlesh Mehta secretary general TTFI, Sanjay Wahi president, Ajay Sharma organizing secretary, Satbir Singh senior vice president, Saleem Banday vice president, Rajan Sharma Secretary, Vasu Dewan joint secretary and Narinder Singh treasurer were present during the event.
Daud Iqbal Baba, JU Director Sports, Rajeev Sharma Member Sports Council, Manager Satish Gupta, Renuka Aima, Manmeet Kour, Harinder Mahajan, Sanjiv Gupta, Sheetal Gandotra, Dharminder Mangotra, Sanjay Gupta, Shailender Aima, B.S. Jaggi, Riaz Ahmed, Ravish Vaid and Vikas Gupta were also present in the ceremony, while Hanumant Sharma conducted the proceedings of the function.
The defending champion Sreeja Akula of RBI claimed a second successive women’s singles crown after beating Sutirtha Mukherjee of West Bengal 4-2 in the 84th UTT Inter-State Senior National Table Tennis Championships here today.
G. Sathiyan too claimed his second men’s singles national title, defeating Harmeet Desai in straight games at the Gymnasium Hall of Jammu University. Both Sreeja and Sathiyan were richer by Rs. 2.75 lakh each following their victories.
Sreeja was scratchy in the final. Whenever in trouble, she found a way to extricate herself from depth to do the unexpected. In other words, Sutirtha let her opponent off the hook as she couldn’t make the most of the best situations in the final.
Sutirtha was in fine form and had her forehand going well, executing some unbelievable cross-court shots, but Sreeja never relented from her attacking posture nor went into a shell.
Though Sutirtha won the first game, she should have also taken at least two of the next three games as she held two game points in each. But Sreeja’s boldness and passive play helped her to eventually record a 9-11, 14-12, 11-7, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10 win over the West Bengal player, a former national champion. Sathiyan, on the other hand, was in his zone in the final, exemplifying it with a fast-paced game against Harmeet.
The former’s superiority on the day was visible as he stroked his way with thundering forehands. His backhand, too, cooperated with him without brooking any challenges from Harmeet.
Except for the first game that became too close for his comfort, Sathiyan dominated the show and inched his way up with the win in every game.
So frustrated was Harmeet that he lost steam and the desire to push Sathiyan further, losing the fourth game tamely. In the end, the scoreline read 11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 in favour of Sathiyan.
In men’s doubles, Jeet Chandra and Ankur Bhattacharjee of West Bengal defeated Mohammed Ali and Vansh Singhal of Telangana in straight games to lift the trophy. Sreeja Akula and Diya Chitale combined well to beat the pair from Maharashtra, Swastika Ghosh and Shruti Amrute by, 3-1 for the gold medal in the women’s doubles final.
In the mixed doubles final, Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath defeated Ankur Bhattacharjee and Moumita Datta of West Bengal by 3-0. In the earlier round, the West Bengal pair had accounted for the top-seeded Sathiyan and Manika Batra by 3-0.