Ajmer: North Bengal`s Akash Nath and Karnataka`s Archana Kamath emerged new champions in the sub-junior section, while Rounak Majumdar (WB) 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.
Equally the maiden title for Archana, who beat Maharashtra A`s Shruti Amrute 4-0, was sweeter 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 as from here, 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 her excellent momentum that she picked from the pre-quarterfinals, where she ousted No. 1 seed Moumita Dutta. Continuing her great form, the Karnataka girl made a remarkable comeback in the semifinals.
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. In the decider, Archana was leading 7-1 and from there allowed Mansi to come closer. A couple of service return errors saw Archana losing grip but the girl from the south shut her opponent out when Mansi sent the ball out.
Archana had earlier accounted for No. 1 seed Moumita Dutta in the pre-quarterfinals yesterday. From there it was a real fairytale accomplishment for Archana.
From the bottom half, Maharashtra`s Shruti Amrute overcame a determined Saundrya Pathak from UP 4-3 to enter the final. The UP girl, after being down 0-3, made a valiant attempt only to finish on the losing side at 2-4.
In the semifinal between Snehit and Akash Nath, the former started off well before the West Bengal boy upped the ante to lead 2-1. But the Andhra boy, who had helped his team win the CBSE title, was up to the task and took the stretched fourth game 12-10.
However, Akash decided to stop Snehit then and there to enter the final with a 4-2 verdict. Earlier, Manav Thakkar beat another Andhra boy Hari Krishan 4-1.