Gallant AAI sets up finals against Petroleum

Petroleum and AAI will also battle for the men’s title. AAI surprised last year’s runner-up Railways 3-2 with Anirban Ghosh pulling off a stunner against the seasoned Anirban Nandi in the key fourth singles.

The victorious youth girls from Airports Authority of India in the All India inter-institutional table tennis championship in Jaipur on Monday. (From left): Ayhika Mukherjee, Selena Deepthi, Harsha Vardhini, and Archana Kamath.   -  Special Arrangements

Sometimes the outcome does not reflect the closeness of the combat and the eventual winner has reasons to feel relieved, than to rejoice. On Monday, in what was a repeat clash of last year’s women’s team final, Petroleum felt just that after overcoming Reserve Bank of India 3-1 in the semifinals of the All India inter-institutional table tennis championship here.

In the final, Petroleum faces Airports Authority of India (AAI) which blanked Air India 3-0 after two close singles matches. Rio-bound Manika Batra won the first and fourth singles for Petroleum but, in between, RBI enjoyed its best moments. Pallabi upstaged Madhurika Patkar to make it 1-1 and Shruti Talnikar came close to surprising K. Shamini but the former National champion held her nerves to clinch the decider 11-9. Petroleum and AAI will also battle for the men’s title. AAI surprised last year’s runner-up Railways 3-2 with Anirban Ghosh pulling off a stunner against the seasoned Anirban Nandi in the key fourth singles.

Expectedly, Petroleum raced past RBI. As a result, Petroleum and AAI qualified, in both sections, for the next National championship. In the youth team finals, there was no change in the script with the Petroleum boys and the AAI girls retaining their titles after topping the four-team league. Petroleum boys had to bounce back from 0-2 to halt Air India 3-2 with Utkarsh Gupta and Abhishek Yadav making amends in the last two singles after losing the first two rubbers.

The results:

Team championship: Men Semifinals: Petroleum beat Reserve Bank of India 3-0 (G. Sathiyan bt Vighney Reddy 12-10, 11-2, 11-7; A. Amalraj bt Raj Mondal 11-8, 11-9, 11-7; Harmeet Desai bt Souvik Roy 11-5, 11-4, 11-6).Airports Authority of India beat Railways 3-2 (S. Sushmit lost to Anirban Nandi 5-11, 11-13, 7-11; Anirban Ghosh lost to Ravindra Kotiyan 11-13, 9-11, 11-1, 8-11 Sarthak Gandhi bt E. Prabhakaran 11-6, 11-3, 11-4; Ghosh bt Nandi 15-13, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6; Sushmit bt Ravindra 11-9, 13-11, 11-8).

Women Semifinals: Petroleum beat Reserve Bank of India 3-1 (Manika Batra bt Shweta Parte 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9; Madhurika Patkar lost to Pallabi Kundu 11-2, 9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 7-11; K. Shamini bt Shruti Talnikar 11-4, 11-3, 10-12, 4-11, 11-9; Manika bt Pallabi 11-5, 6-11,11-7, 11-7). Airport Authority of India bt Air India 3-0 (Ayhika Mukherjee bt Devika Bhide 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 11-4; Archana Kamath bt Mallika Bhandarkar 11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5; Sreeja Akula bt Shruti Amrute 11-9, 11-8, 11-6). Final standings: Youth boys: 1. Petroleum, Airports Authority of India, Railways and Air India. Youth girls: 1. Airports Authority of India, Railways, Petroleum and Air India.