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Cakewalk for Sindhu

- Jwala proves a point; srikanth triumphs

New Delhi: PV Sindhu ended her 2013 campaign adding the National title to her kitty on Monday.

In the final, played at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here, the Hyderabad teenager displayed wonderful skills and superior fitness to beat Rituparna Das of Bengal 21-11, 21-17 in exactly half an hour. Rituparna, 17, the current junior national champion, had surprised everyone by reaching the final.

“I am satisfied to have a happy ending to the year… from here on, I can take my game to the next level,” said Sindhu, who recently bagged the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold championship.

The year had been extremely good for Sindhu. From a promising junior player at the start of the season, she went on to become the first Indian player after Prakash Padukone to win a World Championships singles medal when she won the bronze. She also won the Malaysian Open this year.

Sindhu was ranked among the top 10 in the world during the year. The 18-year-old lanky girl is currently ranked 11th.

The men’s National title went to K. Srikanth, who beat R. Gurusaidutt 21-13, 22-20 in the final.

The story of the day, however, was the victory of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa in the women’s doubles final. Banned by the Badminton Association of India (BAI), Jwala is playing after obtaining a court order. She was visibly happy after defeating Pradnya Gadre and N. Sikki Reddy 21-17, 21-16 in the final.

“It’s a huge relief for me to become the doubles national championship again,” said Jwala after the match. “I truly enjoyed the final and I sincerely hope they will include me in the India team,” she added. Overall, it was Jwala’s 14th national championship title.

Accused of creating trouble during the Indian Badminton League (IBL) Jwala faced a life ban before she approached the court. Monday’s victory, Jwala said, was only a reminder that she was not yet finished as a player.

“I had nothing to prove here. I already have my credentials. But some incidents off the court only make you feel sad,” she said.

Sindhu, on the other hand, said she learnt a lot from playing in the Nationals. “Some of the juniors, especially Rituparna, were tough to deal with. They are coming up very fast.”

Rituparna said: “I had nothing to lose. I did whatever I could. But I surely have to improve on my fitness and energy.”

Described by the coaches and one of the best talents to come in recent years, Rituparna said she did not expect to reach the final. “In the original draw, Saina didi (Nehwal) was on my side of the draw. She withdrew and I also played some good matches,” she said. Rituparna is now preparing for the Junior World Championship to be held next year.