Super PSPB clip Air India's wings to reign supreme

14th title-success for Petroleum body

Super PSPB clip Air India's wings to reign supreme

 Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) clinched the men’s and women’s titles for the record 14th time in the ATS National Team Championships at the Siri Fort Sports Complex on Thursday.

After a delayed start of nearly an hour, the PSPB, facing Air India in both men’s and women’s finals, stamped their authority with superlative performances. While the women wrapped up without losing a game, 2-0, the men’s event was stretched to the fourth rubber before PSPB claimed the tie 3-1.

However, in the women’s opening singles, PSPB’s PV Sindhu was given a tough fight by national champion Sayali Gokhale before she pulled off a 21-16, 21-17 victory. 

Sindhu, who had lost to Sayali in the women’s singles final in the previous edition, blew hot and cold during the 33 minutes battle. The two were involved in a few engaging rallies with Sayali often troubling Sindhu with her good court-craft and deceptive drops.
 However, Sindhu’s attacking strokeplay got her through.

In the opening game, Sindhu squandered her 11-7 lead at the half time to be levelled at 13-13 but took control with two back-to-back smashes to move up 16-13. Though Sayali, cleverly mixing the pace, caught up with her at 17-16, Sindhu was quick to restore order by reeling off four points and grab a 1-0 lead.

The 18-year-old Hyderabadi led 5-1 in the second game but soon slumped to errors.
The two went neck and neck, frequently dropping leads, before Sindhu nosed ahead 20-17 following two forehand errors by Sayali. She sealed the match with a powerful smash.

Quick job

With one point in hand, it needed women’s doubles pairing of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa just 25 minutes to get the women’s title for PSPB. The two beat Sanyogita Ghorpade and Saili Rane 21-12, 21-12 without facing much difficulty.

At the adjacent court, former champion and in form Sourabh Verma reined in the challenge of Anand Pawar 21-16, 21-17 and K Srikanth overpowered Aditya Joshi 21-19, 21-16 to give PSPB men’s team a 2-0 lead.

But in an intensely fought men’s doubles clash, PSPB’s Tarun Kona and Pranaav Jerry Chopra could not recover after narrowly losing the first game against the competitive Akshay Dewalkar and Sanyam Shukla, eventually losing 22-24, 16-21 in 35 minutes to give Air India a lifeline.

However, RMV Gurusaidutt saw off a stiff challenge from a gangly Harsheel Dani in the first game to prevail 21-19, 21-15 and maintained the PSPB’s winning streak.

On Friday, the individual competitions in men’s and women’s categories will begin.



Results (finals): Team events: Men: 1-PSPB bt 2- Air India: 3-1 (Sourabh Vermab bt Anand Pawar 21-13, 21-12, K. Srikanth bt Aditya Joshi 21-19, 21-16,  Tarun Kona/ Pranaav Jerry Chopra lost to Akshay Dewalkar/Sanyam Shukla 22-24, 16-21, RMV Gurusaidutt bt Harsheel Dani 21-19, 21-15)  

Women: 1-PSPB bt Air India: 2-0(PV Sindhu  bt Sayali Gokhale  21-16, 21-17, Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa bt  Saili Rane /Sanyogita Ghorpade 21-12, 21-12.

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