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3:11 pm - Wednesday November 22, 4569

Manav on course, Archana struggles

Agencies, Greater Noida

Top-seed Manav Thakkar, after leading India A to team gold yesterday in the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit India Junior and Cadet Open (Premium), took his first step towards further cementing his place in the WJC Boys Standings as he beat compatriot Jayabrata Bhattachartee 12-10, 11-7, 11-3 in the Junior Boys first round at the Gautam Buddha University Hall here today.

With two boys moving into the main draw, the winner in Slovenia Open is sure to qualify but what will help Manav retain the No 1 spot in WJC Standings is a title here, particularly in the absence of his closest rival from France, Bastien Rembert (3,430), who is at the second place. Already assured of a berth in the Finals to be held next year in Luxembourg, a gold medal in singles will be a bonus for the toast of the nation, who is with 3,355 points would like to increase the lead to a comfortable level.

Manav has also completed the minimum qualification requirement of competing in two continents this year in order to qualify for the Finals. However, the question remains who among other Indians will join Manav at Luxembourg. There are at least four contenders in Jeet Chandra, Manush Shah, Snehit Suravajjula and Parth Virmani, though it is a long shot for the last named.

But both Manush Shah and Jeet Chandra need to pull up their socks to grab the second spot with Snehit, the third seed here, breathing down their neck, needs to reproduce the form and he was in three months ago. All the four players moved into the second round without a hassle and will even qualify for the second stage.

But individually they need to go closer to the medal podium to grab a dream-come-true opportunity. Similarly, in Junior Girls Archana Kamath need to wear her thinking cap to help her reach the Finals in Luxembourg.

In the team final, she lost to Yashini Sivasankar twice and today struggled in the first round against Varuni Jaiswal 6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-2. She was down 0-2 but came back nicely to counter the challenge from Varuni. In another Junior Girls first round match in group 4, Kavyashree Baskar downed Heo Ye Eun of Korea 5-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-9 while group 5 topper, Selenadeepthi Selvakumar went down to Surbhi Patwari in straight games of 7-11, 6-11, 12-14.

In Cadet Boys and Cadet Girls, qualifiers were identified with the completion of group stage matches. The Indian domination was as much visible in these two sections with as many as 13 Indians out of 16 in boys and 13 out of 14 girls made the main draw cut.

Posted in: Sports

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