Panchkula: Gujarat continued to make its presence felt at the national table tennis circuit when Manav Thakkar of Surat walked away with Youth and Men's titles after his statemate Manush Shah claimed the Junior Boys' crown.

Manav enjoyed a double, winning the men singles as well as the Youth Boys title in the 11Even Sports National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium in Panchkula. This was the first time Manav bagged men's as well as youth boy's titles at one event.

In men singles, the PSPB lad Manav stopped SFR Snehit of Telananga, who had a fantastic run, to win 4-2, while Manika Batra stuttered her way to beat West Bengal’s Krittwika Sinha Roy 4-3 to set the ball rolling in a new season. This was Sports Authority of Gujarat's Shaktidoot Yojana beneficiary Manav’s second crown after he won the first time the North Zone title in Greater Noida last year when he beat RBI’s Raj Mondal 4-1.

Manav was under pressure, particularly after Snehit made it 2-2. But Manav showed great confidence using those crispy backhand shots. He also used the flanks well and responded to Snehit’s clever placings, particularly the ones down-the-line on his backhands.

The Surti-lad rightfully claimed the Youth Boys title, beating Ronit Bhanja of West Bengal 4-1. Manav was in a rampaging form and disposed of Ronit without wasting any time which may have helped him conserve energy for the men singles final. But he would be running into an in-form Snehit, who felled A. Sharath Kamal in the third round the other night.

‘’I was under pressure because he (Snehit) was playing his first final and responding well. It was for me to defend the title,” said Manav, who earlier beat Ronit Bhanja 4-1 to annex the Youth Boys title. Earlier, Baroda-based Manush had recorded a fantastic 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9 win over Anukram Jain.

Praising his wards, GSTTA president Mittra said, "Manav and Manush have displayed personify the potential of Gujarat. This is just the beginning, our players are going to dominate national circuit. On behalf of GSTTA I congratulate both players and wish them luck for the upcoming event in Indore," said Mittra.

New Stag Premium balls were introduced for the first time, which made little tough for the players. "It wasn't easy as we played with these balls for the first time. But I enjoyed every moment, as for the first time I won men's and youth title," said Manav, who will don India colors at Asian a Games. Manav was richer by Rs. 70,000 while Snehit received exactly half the amount for his efforts.

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