| A match in progress at JN sports complex indoor stadium on Sunday. Telegraph picture
south asia tt
Shillong, June 17: Hosts India sailed into the junior boys semi-finals, blanking opponents Bhutan and Pakistan in Group A on the first day of the South Asia Federation Junior Table Tennis Championships in the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex indoor hall here today.
On a day of all wins for the hosts, India have also registered victories against their opponents in junior girls, cadet boys and girls round robin league tournaments.
In the junior boys event, the Indian team, comprising Sudhanshu Grover, Abhishek Yadav, Vivek Bhargava and R. Anandraj, registered 3-0 wins over the opponents. Against Bhutan, Vivek Bhargava handed a 11-6, 11-7, 14-12 defeat to Namgay Dorji, while Sudhanshu Grover, the highest ranked boy in the tournament, beat Raj Kumar 11-5, 14-12, 11-6. In the third singles, R. Anandraj cruised past Tashi Jamtsho 11-8, 11-4, 11-5.
In the second round against Pakistan, Abishek Yadav breezed past Muhammad Rameez 11-0, 11-2, 11-8 and Vivek Bhargava beat Tahir Salman Ahmad Virk 11-6, 11-7, 11-5. However, R. Anandraj faced some challenge from Tabish Khurshid before clinching a 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4 win.
India will now clash with the runners-up of group B in the semi-finals, which will be finalised late this evening, as the Group B matches had to be rescheduled this morning because of the late arrival of the Sri Lankan team.
In junior girls first round, India blanked Pakistan 3-0 with Tennison Reeth defeating Abeera Ali Sheikh 11-4, 11-6, 11-6, Mallika Bhandarkar getting the better of Farwa Babar 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 and Priya Narasimha outplaying Iqra Saeed 11-3, 11-5, 11-2.
In cadet events, the Indian boys posted a 3-0 win over Bangladesh. Utkarsh Gupta defeated Hridoy Emran Hossain 11-4, 11-4, 11-4, Lalrin Puia eased past Mohammad Javed Ahmed 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 and the tandem of Birdie Boro and Lalrin Puia got the better of Hridoy Emran Hossain and Md Javed Ahmed 11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 11-5. The Indian girls prevailed over Nepal 3-0 with Karnam Spoorthy making short work of Sonu Thapa Magar 11-3, 11-1, 11-5, Ayihika Mukherjee routing Sukriti Shreshtha 11-1, 11-1, 11-3 and Ayihika Mukherjee and Suthirtha Mukherjee crushing Sonu Thapa and Sukiriti Shreshtha 11-2, 11-4, 11-6.
Altogether 61 paddlers from six countries are participating in the three-day event inaugurated by Meghalaya deputy chief minister Bindo M. Lanong. The championship offers two tickets to the Asian Junior Championships to be held at Jiangyin in China next month.
In junior girls third round, India handed a 3-0 defeat to Bangladesh. In the cakewalk victory, Priya Narasimha tamed Minara Sharmin Akhtar 11-4, 11-3, 11-6, Reeth Tennison eased past Shinty Akhi Akter 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 and Senohra D Souza beat Snigdha Sultana 11-8, 11-5, 11-4.