Senior Nationals: Munawer and Mithun hog the limelight

It was a day when players’ patience was tested in the form of dew drops falling from the top of the roof that forced officials to stop play in two of the six courts for quite a while. Intermittent power failure made every player’s plight even more unenviable.

Munawer Mohammed (pic) of Kerala in action Air India's Chirag Sen (not seen) in first-round match in men's singles at the 81st Senior National Badminton Championships at Patliputra Sports Complex in Patna.   -  Munawer Mohammed

Munawer Mohammed and M. Mithun enlivened an otherwise dull day at the 81st Senior National badminton championship at the Patliputra Sports Complex here on Friday.

It was a day when players’ patience was tested in the form of dew drops falling from the top of the roof that forced officials to stop play in two of the six courts for quite a while. Intermittent power failure made every player’s plight even more unenviable.

Fortunately, Munawer of Kerala and Air India’s Mithun played on a court that didn’t get affected by the water drops, but they had to endure the brief power shutdown.

Munawer attacked his way past Chirag Sen of Air India, seeded ninth, 21-17, 10-21, 21-19, while Mithun, a trainee of Prakash Padukone Academy, defeated 12th seed Aditya Joshi of Madhya Pradesh 21-13, 21-11 in the men's singles first round. Rahul Yadav of Telangana, the 13th seed, survived a stiff challenge from Maharashtra’s Abhishek Kulkarni 23-25, 21-15, 21-17.

There weren’t many long rallies between Chirag and Munawer. In fact, the rallies were short with some awkard ones, too. With both being powerful hitters, rallies resembled doubles play. But at the same time, there were quite a few thrilling long rallies ending with either Chirag or Munawer powerfully smashing down-the-line or cross-court.

After losing the first game, Chirag raced away to 16-9 in the second, thanks in part to numerous unforced errors from Munawer. The third game saw Chirag clawing his back from 14-18 to 18-each with delicate drops from the forecourt. In the end, it was Munawer’s consistent aggressive instincts that tilted the scales.

Mithun had his way against Aditya, who was ranked world No.1 in juniors not way back in 2014. The 18-year-old Mithun was consistent, didn’t make many unforced errors, but at the same time didn’t hesitate to go for the kill whenever he felt it right.

The results (Ist round):

Men’s singles:

A. Arun Kumar (TN) bt Prasenjit Dey (Meg) 21-10, 21-10; Munawer Mohammed (Ker) bt Chirag Sen (AI) 21-17, 10-21 21-19; Karan Rajan (TN) bt Ritesh Kothari (Tri) 21-12, 21-14; Bodhit Joshi (Utr) bt Akash Thakur (Bhr) 21-16, 21-12; Purushottam Awate (Guj) bt Ribya Jokom (ANP) 21-12, 21-10; A.S. S. Siril Varma (TS) bt Abhishek Saini (Cht) 21-13, 21-16; Aswin Paul (Ker) bt Ankit Patel (UP) 21-15, 21-9; Kaustubh Rawat (Del) bt Amrish Kumar (Bhr) 21-12, 21-12; K. Jagadeesh (AP) bt Divum Gupta (J&K) 23-21, 21-17; Kaushal Dharmamer (AAI) bt Shubham (Har) 21-8, 21-13; Shubham Prajapati (MP) bt Prateek Mahajan (Goa) 21-7, 21-11; Ansal Yadav (UP) bt Bhaaradwaj Palakurti (AP) 21-3, 21-5; M.G. Hemanth (Kar) bt Oscar Bansal (Cht) 21-10, 21-19; M. Mithun (AI) bt Aditya Joshi (MP) 21-13, 21-11.

Women’s singles:

Khushboo Patel (MP) bt Anjali Rawat (Guj) 21-17, 21-9; Sheetal Kargeti (CAG) bt Shradha Srivastava (LIC) 21-13, 21-12; Megha Bora Morchana (Asm) bt Yashikala Jamir (Nag) 21-6, 21-11; K. Vaishnavi (TS) bt M. Aruna (Pud) 21-15, 21-5; Sneha Rajwar (Utr) bt Manisha Rani Tirkey (Jhr) 21-15, 16-21, 21-17; Ruby Singh (Cht) bt Anjana Kumari (Goa) 21-11, 21-12; Mrunmayi Saoji (Mah) bt Rupsa Ghosh (Rly) 21-14, 21-12; Rutaparna Panda (Ori) bt Kailash (Cht) 21-19, 21-10; Aakarshi Kashyap (Cht) bt V. Ruth Misha (Kar) 21-11, 21-9; Likhita Srivastava (Del) bt Sazia Khan (CAG) 21-16, 21-10.

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