Banking on Diya Chitale’s brilliance, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) scripted a thrilling 3-2 win over Tamil Nadu in the women’s final of the UTT-84th Senior National and Inter-State table tennis championships in Jammu on Thursday. As expected, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) triumphed in style with a 3-1 victory over Railways in the men’s final for its 26th title.
After winning the first tie, Diya returned to win the crucial fifth rubber against Kowshika to enable her team to bag the crown.
TN women were on a high after the big upset win over defending champion PSPB the other day. RBI, however, wouldn’t have thought that TN will give such a tough fight, especially after losing the first two matches in the summit clash.
Diya put it across TN’s S. Yashini in five games while Ayhika Mukherjee edged past Kowshika as RBI took a confident 2-0 lead.
But 17-year-old B. Kavyasree put the brakes on RBI and pulled one back with great composure and even better aggression to outwit a struggling Sreeja Akula in four games in the crucial third rubber.
Then, Yashini, who had not lost a match before the final, returned to beat Ayhika to force the contest to the decider. The fifth match was a cliffhanger.
TN’s Kowshika with her mix of backhand blocks, forehand topspin, and Diya, in possession of an excellent forehand topspin, put the sparse audience on tenterhooks before the latter emerged triumphant. TN last won the title in 1991-92 in Bombay and finished runner-up in Jamshedpur in ‘94.
The results (finals):
Men: PSPB bt Railways 3-1 (Manav Thakkar bt Ronit Bhanja 11-5, 11-9, 11-8; G. Sathiyan bt Anirban Ghosh 11-5, 11-9, 11-4; Sanil Shetty lost to Akash Pal 2-11, 15-13, 9-11, 12-10,8-11; Sathiyan bt Ronit 11-7, 11-5, 12-10).
Women: RBI bt TN 3-2 (Diya Chitale bt S. Yashini 11-4, 3-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7; Ayhika Mukherjee bt V. Kowshika 11-6, 20-18, 11-8; Sreeja Akula lost to B. Kavyasree 8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 8-11; Ayhika lost to Yashini 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 7-11, 7-11; Diya bt Kowshika 13-11,9-11, 11-4, 11-6).