Gandhidham: Surat-based paddler Manav Thakkar continued his impressive performance at the international level with yet another golden tourney. Competing in the South Asian Hopes, Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships 2018 at Maldives, Manav won Junior boys’ singles, doubles, and team gold. Manav’s doubles partner and Baroda-based Manush Shah also returned with two gold medals.
Played in the League-cum-Knockout format, Manav topped the Group with three wins. He defeated Bangladesh’s Mohtasin Ahmed 11-3 11-5 11-4 and followed it with yet another crushing win over Mohamed Thabin Shajau of Maldives 11-4 11-2 11-3. In the knockout stage, in semifinals, Manav faced Santoo Shrestha of Nepal. Manav dropped two games before overcoming his Nepalese opponent with an 11-4 11-8 7-11 7-11 11-6 scoreline.
The final was an all-India affair as Manav took on Jeet Chandra. Having suffered a loss against Jeet in the Nationals, Manav had learned his lessons and had come better prepared. Displaying his craft, Manav proved on why he was crowned Junior World number one and walked away to the top of the podium with an emphatic 11-5 11-3 11-1. Earlier this year, Manav had become first Indian to top the World Junior Boys’ Ranking list.
Manav-Manush reign supreme
Manav had teamed up with his Gujarat compatriot Manush Shah in the doubles event. The seasoned pair from the World Junior Circuit had a good time as they crushed Bangladesh duo Imrul Kayes and Mritonjoy Bose (11-2 11-5 11-7) in the semifinals. Nimesh Ranchagoda and Chandupa A of Sri Lanka put up a good fight as compared to Bangladesh duo, but it was Manav-Manush who had the last laugh in the 11-9 11-9 11-7 win in the gold medal round.
India’s clean sweep
Manav was also instrumental in India’s gold in the team event. India beat all their opponents Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives 3-0 in the best-of-the-five matches rubber. Sri Lanka finished second. Elsewhere, India’s Archana Kamath beat compatriot Yashini 6-11 11-7 11-8 6-11 11-9 in a tough final to be crowned Junior Girls champion. Other Indian paddlers, Suhana Saini, and Suresh Raj Preyesh won gold in Hopes Girls and Boys section respectively. Dev Shroff won gold in the Cadet Boys section while Trisha Gogoi won gold in Cadet Girls category.