Guwahati, Jan 18: After having been witness to a few good matches Friday in the team events, one had to go through boredom until C.R. Harshavardini from Tamil Nadu bowed out during the qualifying stage in the junior dirls category of the Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships here at Deshbakt Tarun Ram Phukan Indoor Stadium Saturday.
That was really shocking for the player who has been a regular member of the Indian team and has represented the country in various international tournaments, including the Reliance India Open held at Mumbai last year. In fact, the Tamil Nadu girl was part of Team India’s winning squad in June last.
Placed in Group 30 along with the less experienced Reva from Himachal and Gujarat’s Smin Atodaria, Harshavardhini was expected to lead the three-player group. Though the India ranked paddler won easily (3-0) against the Himachal girl, she found the going tough against the girl from Gujarat and lost 1-3 (9-11, 11-9, 12-14, 10-12).
But for this upset, 37 other group leaders made the main draw cut to join top eight girls – Sagarika Mukherjee, Priyadarshani Das, Ayhima Mukherjee, A. Sreeja, Riti Shankar, Anushka Dutta, Yukthi Roshini and Sumana Saha. All these eight players were directly seeded in the main draw with the advantage of first-round byes.
The youth girls section too saw an upset of sort with Nirja Trivedi from Gujarat bowing out at the qualification stage, losing to Oviya ribanandan from Pandicherry in group 24. Nirja was not only placed atop the group, but was also expected to go through. But the Pondicherry girl upset her calculation. There was, however, some good news for the Trivedis as her younger sister Dwijal qualified from group 37.
PSPB’s Suthirtha Mukherjee has been given the pride of place in the seeding while Krittwika Sinha Roy from West Bengal at No. 2. Surprisingly, T. Reeth Rishya, also of PSPB, has been placed at No. 3 ahead of team mate Manika Batra. This also means that Manika needs to pull up her socks to regain her rightful place in the future seeding list.
As for the youth and junior Boys, matches went along the expected line with group leaders making the cut. They would join the elite eight paddlers, Abhishek Yadav, Sourv Saha, Sudhanshu Grover, Lalrinpuia, Birdie Boro, Sushmit Sriram, Utkarsh Gupta and Nishaad Shah in the main draw. As usual, these players have earned first-round byes.