Kiran, Neha triumphant

Kiran, Neha triumphant

A gritty Kiran George rallied from a game down to beat Harshit Aggarwal and lift the men’s title at the All-India senior ranking badminton tournament here.

After a sluggish start, the Kerala lad bounced back to defeat his higher-ranked opponent in three games 15-21, 21-19, 21-19 at the Karnataka Badminton Association (KBA) on Sunday.

Both players were neck-and-neck at 7-7 in the first game, after which Air India’s Harshit showed great recovery skills to pull away.

Unforced errors began creeping into Kiran’s game and Harshit was in no mood to relent, taking the first game 21-15.

But the 17-year-old Kiran didn’t let the disappointment of the first game deter him and kept pace with Harshit, who began doing all the running in the second.

A couple of missed smashes by Harshit gave Kiran a 19-16 lead and he didn’t relinquish it, forcing the tie into a decider after a 21-19 win in the second.

With neither player willing to give a quarter, it was even stevens at 18 apiece in the third game.

Unfortunately for Harshit, he hit a couple of smashes long and the scoreboard now read 20-17 in Kiran’s favour. But the 21-year-old staged a mini-comeback, closing the gap to just one point at 20-19.

At the crucial moment, his serve let him down and Kiran capitalised to seal the deal.

Earlier, in the women’s singles final, sixth seeded Neha Pandit was forced to dig deep against Vrushali G, ten spots below her in the seedings, before wearing the crown with a 21-18, 15-21, 21-19 victory.

KBA also felicitated state player Archana Pai who scored 97.5% in the PUC examinations. Archana had represented Karnataka in the women’s category at the Inter-state South Zone championship held at Ottapalam last year.

Results (all finals): Men: Singles: Kiran George bt 4-Harshit Aggarwal 15-21, 21-19, 21-19.

Doubles: 1-Arun George/Sanyam Shukla bt 4-Chaitanya Reddy K/Hemanagendra Babu T 21-14, 12-21, 21-14.

Women: Singles: 6-Neha Pandit bt 16-Vrushali G 21-18, 15-21, 21-19.

Doubles: Sruthi KP/Purnima Devi N bt 3-Haritha MH/Anura Prabhudesai (walkover)

Mixed doubles: Nanda Gopal K/ Mahima Aggarwal bt Shlok Ramchandran/ Arundhati Pantawane 11-21, 21-13, 12-3 (retired).


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