PSPB, Maharashtra emerge champions

 Mamta Prabhu once again proved to be the star for Maharashtra as they lifted the women’s crown, while PSPB retained the men’s title in the 73rd Senior National and Inter-State table tennis championships here at SAI centre on Thursday.

Maharashtra ‘A’ team beat North Bengal 3-2 to become the first state outfit to win the Jayalakshmi Cup.

Locked 2-2 in the five-match rubber, Mamta was staring down the barrel after trailing 2-5 against the experienced Nandita Saha in the fourth game.

However, Mamta soon levelled the scores at 6-all before exploding to seal the game 11-7 and push the contest into a decider.

In the final game, she was in cruise mode, taking a comfortable 3-0 lead as Nandita began to feel the heat. Although, Nandita did put up a fight but Mamta held her nerve brilliantly, securing a thrilling 11-8, 11-13, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11 victory.

“I must give full credit to the team spirit and I am happy I lived up to the expectations,” said a delighted Mamta. “I knew before the match that I needed to win two matches to have any chance for us to win the championships.”

Earlier, Madhurika Patkar won her first singles against Nandita while Divya Deshpande defeated Takeme Sarkar to give Maharashtra the edge following the loss of Mamta to Ankita Das in the second rubber.

Meanwhile, the men’s final was completely lop-sided, star paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal leading PSPB to a thumping 3-0 victory over Tamil Nadu.

Results (final): Men’s: PSPB bt Tamil Nadu 3-0 (Achanta Sharath Kamal bt RS Raja 11-6, 11-7, 11-8; G Vinod bt A Amalraj 11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9; Soumyadeep Roy bt Sivananda Seshadri 11-9, 11-8, 12-10).

Bronze medal winners: Maharashtra ‘A’ and Gujarat.
Women’s: Maharashtra ‘A’ bt North Bengal 3-2 (Madhurika Patkar bt Nandita Saha 11-6, 11-9, 11-5; Mamta Prabhu lt to Ankita Das 9-11, 11-8, 11-13, 10-12; Divya Deshpande bt Takeme Sarkar 11-5, 13-11, 11-8; Madhurika Patkar lt to Ankita Das 9-11, 10-12, 12-14; Mamta Prabhu bt Nandita Saha 8-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8).
Bronze medal winners: PSPB and West Bengal.

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