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Titles for Akash, Rounak

Ajmer: North Bengal’s Akash Nath and Karnataka’s Archana Kamath emerged champions in the sub-junior section, while Rounak Majumdar (Bengal) and Swastika Ghosh (Maharashtra A) annexed titles in the Cadet category, at the ONGC Cadet and Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships, here on Sunday.

What made Nath’s maiden win special was the way he fought from the brink to snatch the crown from PSPB Academy’s Manav Thakkar at the MC Chowhan Indoor Stadium.

Nath won 4-3 in one of the finest finals in recent years. The maiden title for Archana, who beat Maharashtra A’s Shruti Amrute 4-0, was sweet as she became the first girl from the state in 13 years to win the sub-junior crown. The last win for a Karnataka girl came at Calicut in 1999.

Thakkar was just a point away from championship at 10-6 in the decider, but Nath saved four straight match points to level the score and then win at 12-10. That changed the complexion of the match. The North Bengal boy gained ascendancy while Thakkar went into despair, losing the last three games and the title.

Archana, on the other hand, kept the momentum she had picked up from the pre-quarter finals, where she ousted No. 1 seed Moumita Dutta. Continuing her great form, the Karnataka girl made a remarkable comeback in the semi-finals.

Down 1-3, the Karnataka girl trapped opponent Mansi Chhajed in her own defensive game. Archana was gaining in confidence, playing some astonishing forehand winners, while the Maharashtra girl was losing her poise.