Ajmer, November 26: In what were thoroughly one-sided and dreary final affairs, the men and women squads of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) lifted the silverwares in the 49th Inter-Institutional Table Tennis Championships as they sent their rivals packing with an identical 3-0 margin of victory at the MCC Indoor Stadium here today.
This was the 18th occasion that their men’s squad has claimed the title, while their women counterpart for the 16th time.
The dominance of the PSPB sides was a foregone conclusion in an event of this stature. Yet, one expected some fireworks from their opponents, the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB), which never came in either final.
Of course, there were a few shades of individual brilliance in specific games of rubber, but the threat perception was long taken out of the question once the PSPB men and women had taken a comfortable lead in either case. So strong were the two that the third singles for them were a mere formality.
Archana opened in a grand manner, taking a 2-0 lead against Railways’ Takeme Sarkar. However, the latter fought back well to level the score to give a glimpse of her team’s surge. Nevertheless, she missed the bus by a long shot and proved to be very poor in the third game. In a meek surrender, she was guilty of giving away as many as five negative points on the trot, making things so simple for Archana, who won the game 11-1! That’s precisely where the Railways first line of defence ended.
Manika Batra, except for the stretched first game, didn’t have to toil against Sagarika Mukherjee who allowed her to complete the formality easily. Sutirtha Mukherjee, too, toyed with Moumita Dutta before finishing the third singles in 17 minutes flat.
As for the men’s team final, the script did not change much except when A. Sharath Kamal, playing the third singles, dropped a game to Anirban Nandi of Railways. But that was perhaps the only aberration. Yet, the PSPB men were never under any threat as the seasoned Sharath, who gave a long rope, did not allow the rubber go the other way. Of course, he played some loose shots and that could not take away the aggression or his single-minded devotion towards his team’s cause.
Earlier, Amalraj began in a whirlwind fashion, making Anirban Ghosh pay for trying to be aggressive. The fast-paced rubber saw quite a few rallies but Amalraj, with his endgame perfection, simply put it across his Railways rival.
Then it was time for the Indonesian Open winner, Harmeet Desai, to make it purely a PSPB affair against Ravindra Kotiyan, who was not at all in his elements. Soon after, Sharath made his appearance for the third singles with a big round of applause from an appreciative crowd and fellow players.
In Youth Boys, the PSPB team defeated AAI 3-0 in their last league match to retain the title and also join their Girls squad, who won on the second day, to qualify in each section for the Junior and Youth Nationals, to be held at Jammu from December 2.
Women: Final: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board bt Railways Sports Promotion Board 3-0 (Archana Kamath bt Takeme Sarkar 11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 9-11, 11-1, Manika Batra bt Sagarika Mukherjee 12-10, 11-8, 11-9, Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Moumita Dutta 11-6, 11-4, 12-10).
Men: Final: Sports Promotion Board bt Railways Sports Promotion Board 3-0 (Anthony Amalraj bt Anirban Ghosh 11-7, 11-6, 11-4, Harmeet Desai bt Ravindra Kotiyan 11-8, 11-4, 11-4, A Sharath Kamal bt Anirban Nandi 11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 13-11.
Youth Boys: Final standings: 1. PSPB, 2. AAI, 3. Canara Bank, 4. Air India, 5. FCI.
Youth Girls: Final standings: 1. PSPB, 2. RSPB, 3. Air India, 4. AAI.