Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pink Panthers down Puneri Paltan to remain top of the table

Jaipur, August 23, 2014: It was houseful at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium, as the vocal crowd of Jaipur turned up to celebrate the last day of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in the Pink city. Fuelled by the enthusiasm of Pink Panther owner Abhishek Bachchan the Pink Panthers stole the show yet again, overcoming the rather strong looking Puneri Paltan challenge. With a score of 33-27, Jaipur became the third team to join U Mumba and Telegu Titans to turn their home into a fortress, not losing a single game there.

A contest between the top and bottom ranked teams in the league table, the home-team did not disappoint. Being the only team to have qualified for the semi-finals, the Jaipur played like champions, overpowering Puneri Paltan from the word go. Though out of the running for the semis, Pune looked strong but fell just short of the Panthers.

As Rajesh Narwal ousted Pune’s Manoj Kumar, Jaipur got the break they needed, tackling the Pune captain in the very next raid. But a defiant Pune did not let Jaipur march ahead, keeping the scores tied to three in the sixth minute.

Charged by the chants of “Jasvir, Jasvir” filling the stadium, the man left Pune to just two men, taking them one down during his very next raid and letting his team tackle down the last man standing, Swapnil Shinde. Jaipur earned their first LONA points at the end of the tenth minute. Leading by 6 points, the Jaipur outfit stepped up the game taking down Swapnil Shinde Mangesh Bhagat and captain Wazir Singh one after the other. A brilliant reverse –scorpion kick by Jasvir Singh reduced Pune to a four-man army yet again. As Jitesh Joshi left the field, the crowd burst in a euphoric cheer, celebrating the half-time score of 20-10, in favour of their team.

The beginning of the second-half saw Wazir Shah reducing Jaipur to a four-man army, and Navneet Gautam’s men seemed a little shaky. Reduced to just two Panthers, the Jaipur team conceded the first LONA points, taking the score to 21 all. However Jaipur was quick to bounce back, overthrowing Mangesh and Wazir consecutively. Going neck to neck, the Pune made sure that Jaipur do not have a sizable lead by their side. Jaipur manages to inch ahead thanks to Maninder’s raid which took down Jitesh Joshi and Mangesh Bhagat, earning his team two crucial points. It was now up to the Pune captain to revive his players, a challenge he could not complete, giving Jaipur their second Lona points for the day and winning the match by six points.

Photo caption: Jaipur raider Jasvir Singh undertakes a raid on Pune citadel during their Pro Kabaddi League match in Jaipur on August 23, 2014.
Photo and release: Organisers 

Telugu Titans edge past Patna Pirates in a crucial match

Jaipur, August 23, 2014: Excitement filled the historical Sawai Mansingh Indoor stadium as the first clash of the night began. With both the teams-Patna Pirates and Telugu Titans playing their second game in Jaipur, the crowds were anticipating some kabaddi fireworks. A closely fought match throughout the forty minutes, Titans overshadowed the Pirates 29-32.

With both the teams fighting to get ahead of each other in the points table, the match was peppered with some exciting raids and spectacular tackles. While Patna were slightly weakened with the absence of their captain Rakesh Kumar, Telugu Titans looked their attacking best with Rahul Chaudhari and Deepak Niwas Hooda backing each other beautifully. A clash to remain in the fray for the semi-finals for the Titans, the yellow army fought hard and defeated Patna by 3 points.

Patna got the points-tally going with one successful raid followed by a strong tackle. As a dangerous looking Deepak Niwas Hooda took an early exit and Rahul became a victim to Sandeep Narwal’s quickfire raid, the titans looked in a spot of bother. Vizag conceded the first LONA points soon after in the sixth minute, taking their lead to 9 points. But Sukesh Hegde soon joined the party ousting two Pirates including Ravi Dalal. Deepak traded roles and showed his prowess as a defender, single-handedly throwing Sandeep Narwal off the field of play. Before long Patna’s Gurvinder Singh failed to dodge the Titans, giving the Titans their first LONA points. Inching closer to Patna’s once mounting lead, the Titans fought back, trailing by only two points making the half-time score 18-16.

Thanks to two consecutive raids by Rahul Chaudhuri in the very first minute of the second half, Patna was just left with Ravi Dalal and inevitably, the Titans welcomed their second Lona points of the match. Leading by 3 points in the 25th minute, Rahul Chaudhari continued to throttle the Pirates, leaving them a 5-men army. But Patna did not give up easy sending Rahul and Sunil Kumar back to the bench, thanks to a failed attempt by Rahul to tackle Sandeep Narwal. After a short interval of empty raids, Patna were staring at the bottom of the barrel yet again, having lost two players consecutively. With just ten minutes to go the Titans led the match by three points, placing them in third spot followed closely by the Pirates at fourth.

Photo caption: Patna Pirates (green and yellow) and Telugu Titans players in action during their Pro Kabaddi League match in Jaipur on August 23, 2014. Telugu Tirans celebrate their victory.

Photo and release: Organisers

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sathiyan, Poulomi win Institutional TT singles titles

New Delhi, August 22, 2014: At 10-9 serving for the championship point, G. Sathiyan must have had his foot in the mouth. Luckily, the rally yielded him the last point which came off a backhand flick. It was very badly needed as Sathiyan had goofed it up in the previous game—he missed two championships point—while allowing Soumyajit Ghosh save six.

Thus Sathiyan, a Youth Boys and national ranking champion, graduated to the next level to bocame the men’s singles champion in the AAI 44th Inter-Institutional Table Tennis Championships at the Tyagraj Stadium here on Friday. He defeated PSPB colleague and last year’s champion Soumyajit Ghosh in the final 4-2.

Sathiyan comples a triple:
“A great victory, coming after a long time,” said Sathiyan who also bagged two more crowns here—men’s doubles with Sourav Saha and also the team title three days ago. “I was really delighted to keep my attacking posture right through. Credit to my coach S. Raman (former national champion),” added Sathiyan.
Indeed, Sathiyan was on a rampaging form. It reflected in the final match as well as he went ahead 2-1 before letting Ghosh stage a comeback in the fifth game. 

Leading comfortably at 9-5 he let the chance go by as Ghosh, slowly but surely, closed in on to narrow down the margin to 2-3. But in the decider, Sathiyan surged ahead with a 9-2 lead, only to make a few errors at the net raising doubts about his ability to hold on a bigger stage. But in the end, he came calm and clean to win the crown and with it Rs. 75,000 being the winner’s cheque.

Similarly, fit-again former national champion Poulomi Ghatak demonstrated that all was well with her play to defeat young Pooja Sahasrabudhe in the women’s singles final 4-2 in the evening, after having felled second-seed Madhurika Patkar in the semifinal 4-3 in the morning. Poulomi’s efforts fetched her Rs. 58,000.

Poulomi picks up steam:
Poulomi was slow to begin but picked up steam midway, winning one and losing one. She made several errors in the third and fourth game but managed to win the last to go 3-1 up. Nevertheless, the error-prone Pooja put up a semblance of fight in the fifth to win it 11-8. But that was all she could do as the veteran Poulomi won the next rather easily to claim the title.

In the first semifinal, Ghosh was in good form disposing of national champion Sanil Shetty 4-0 in just 25 minutes. The left-handed Shetty was groping in the dark, unable to answer the questions posed by Ghosh. Shetty came into groove only in the fourth extended game which Ghosh won 12-10 putting any speculation to rest.
Sathiyan, already on a roll in the championships, defeated FCI’s Sarthak Gandhi 4-1 in the second. Gandhi, who had put up a good display so far, found Sathiyan too hot to handle. Sathiyan played an aggressive game throughout giving little room for his opponent to manoeuvre. Keeping the ball short and executing his forehand to perfection, Sathiyan never relaxed his grip over the match.

But credit should go to Poulomi for upping the ante after the fourth game while trailing 1-3. No doubt, Madhurika played into her rival’s hands and was probably overawed by her senior opponent’s aggression. Poulomi won the last three games with greater ease which told the pathetic story of the No. 2 seed letting the former national off the hook.

Pooja too had several anxious moments in her semifinal against Mousumi Paul. The two PSPB girls played a see-saw match with swinging fortunes, particularly in the fifth game which Pooja won 14-12. That gave the confidence to Pooja who just shut out Mousumi’s challenge in the next without wasting any more time.
AAI women win doubles:

For hosts AAI, a consolation title came in the shape of women’s doubles win as Nikhat Bhanu and Kritwikka Sinha Roy combined well against the PSPB pair of Reeth Rishya and Narasimha Priya to win 3-0. The men’s doubles title went to G. Sathiyan and Sourav Saha who beat Ghosh and Harmeet Desai 3-0.

Men (Final): G. Sathiyan (PSPB) bt Soumyajit Ghosh (PSPB) 4-2 (11-1, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9); Semifinals: Soumyajit Ghosh (PSPB) bt Sanil Shetty (PSPB) 4-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 12-10), G. Sathiyan (PSPB) bt Sarthak Gandhi (FCI) 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7).
Doubles (Final): G. Sathiyan/Sourav Saha (PSPB) bt Soumyajit Ghosh/Harmeet Desai (PSPB) 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-9).
Women (Final): Poulomi Ghatak (PSPB) bt Pooja Sahasrabudhe (PSPB) 4-2 (12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-8); Semifinals: Pooja Sahasrabudhe (PSPB) bt Mousumi Paul (PSPB) 4-2 (11-8, 9-11, 7-11, 11-3, 14-12, 11-6), Poulomi Ghatak (PSPB) bt Madhurika Patkar (RSPB) 4-3 (2-11, 12-10, 11-13, 5-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3).
Doubles (Final): Nikhat Bhanu/Kritwikka Sinha Roy (AAI) bt Reeth Rishya/Narasimha Priya (PSPB) 3-0 (1107, 11-8, 11-9).

A TTFI Press release