Soon after the Goa Challengers assembled at the hotel for the Ultimate Table Tennis season four, it was handed over two different team kits. Having started the tournament on a winning note in the red t-shirt and blue shorts, Harmeet Desai and Co. stuck with the same colours.
Cometh Sunday - facing defending champion Chennai Lions in the big final in front of the largest turnout of the season - Goa Challengers donned the other jersey. It wasn’t for a change of luck against Chennai Lions, the whopping loss against whom had set the Challengers back in the league stage.
It was purely since the team had to have photographs on a match-day in both the jerseys. The change of colours worked a great deal as Goa Challengers clinched a humdinger of a final to win its maiden UTT title.
While Harmeet had been the star act with T. Reeth Rishya as Goa Challengers’ perfect finisher throughout the league, Alvaro Robles, the Spaniard, rose to the occasion by whitewashing A. Sharath Kamal 3-0 to stage the Challengers’ comeback.
Being a Spaniard, football runs in Robles’ veins. And it was evident with the manner in which he celebrated after winning the third game through a golden point. Robles, the southpaw, took his t-shirt off to the utter surprise of even his teammates.
“We have been through too many emotions over the last three weeks. I couldn’t hold any more,” a thrilled Robles said after a prolonged bout of celebrations at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex before the party moved to the team room of the hotel.
“Also, we had plenty of ups and downs. It was really tough to play and perform all the time. It was a way to let my emotions free.”
Reeth, in her debut UTT season, not only made up for a disappointing Commonwealth Games outing last year but also turned out to be one of the best performers of the season.
The Chennai girl, who now splits her time between Mumbai (her husband Sanil Shetty’s hometown) and Hyderabad (where she trains with coach Aman Balgu), showed her ability to soak in the pressure time and again. When it mattered the most, she clinched the decisive game against Sutirtha Mukherjee despite failing to convert four championship points in the previous game.
“I think this is the best start of UTT for any player. Beating all the top players is not easy. But I backed myself and the whole squad was so supportive all through the tournament that it made my job easier,” Reeth said.
- ENG vs NED Live Score, World Cup 2023: England vs Netherlands predicted playing XI; Toss at 1:30 PM IST
- ENG vs NED Dream11 Prediction, World Cup 2023: England vs Netherlands predicted XI, squads, fantasy tips
- Asian Archery C’Ships: Jyothi Surekha, Parneet Kaur ensure all Indian women’s compound final
- Shaji Prabhakaran sacked as AIFF Secretary General
- Cricket World Cup diary: Tendulkar’s statue, nightlife at Park Street and unstoppable Team India