Guru Sai Dutt takes National games gold
Ranchi: Promising youngster Arundhati Pantawante and rising star R M V Guru Sai Dutt clinched the singles titles as badminton competition concluded at the 34th National Games here on Monday.
The Nagpur girl, who was briefly ranked No 1 in India after she surprised everyone with a runner-up finish in the Nationals, came back from behind to oust Kerala`s P C Thulasi for the title.
In the men`s singles summit clash, Guru Sai of Andhra Pradesh also made a spectacular return after going down in the first set to defeat Karnataka`s Aditya Prakash.
Having ousted top seed and statemate Sayali Gokhale in the semifinals on Sunday, the 21-year-old continued her fine run as she pipped Thulasi 14-21, 21-17, 21-15 in close encounter.
"I`m really happy with the performance. I want to do well at the national levels and keep playing more," she said.
Her father, an athletics coach and mother a former athlete, Arundhati`s first choice was 100m and 200m but soon she became addicted to the shuttle sport as she went on to join the Gopichand Academy, where she has been training for the last four years.
She came to prominence after making the final of the Nationals and in the Estonian Open that catapulted her to the No 1 spot in the women`s singles rankings in India.
It may be noted that top Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has stopped playing domestic badminton, while Aditi Mutatkar also did not play enough tournaments.
Having entered the National Badminton Championship as a qualifier earlier this year, Arundhati, en route to the final, ousted defending national champion Trupti Murgunde before Aditi Mutatkar stopped her dream run.
She followed this up by winning the silver medal in the Estonian Open International Badminton tournament where also she started as a qualifier.
"My goal in 2011 is to get good international ranking by the year end," the rising star of badminton said.
In the men`s final, Guru Sai recovered quickly after losing the first set against an error-prone Aditya Prakash to win with 16-21, 21-10, 21-18.
His knowledge of Aditya`s game helped him, said Guru Sai.
"I know his play well. It was about keeping the line right and I was confident that I will wrap it up. Soon my game started working as I got the smashes right," Guru Sai said.
The Andhra duo of Jyotshna Polavarapu and Nelakurthi Sikkireddy clinched the women`s doubles title beating Maharashtra`s Sampada Sahasrabuddhe and Pradnya 21-16, 21-18.
Alwin Francis and Arun Vishnu Sivaraj Anrevamm of Kerala beat Maharashtra`s Jishanu and Akshay 21-12, 26-24 for the men`s title.