INDORE: Dreams fulfilled. Dreams dashed. That, in essence, was the theme of the final day’s proceedings in the singles events as the 73rd edition of the national badminton championship threw up two new champions — Arvind Bhat in the men’s and Sayali Gokhale in the women’s — here on Wednesday.
Before a moderate gathering at the Abhay Prashal indoor stadium, the contests were a let down in terms of quality —which was understandable as four tense players were chasing their dreams of a maiden title — but not in intensity. For P. Kashyap and the exciting talent from Kerala, P.C. Thulasi, it has to be a wait till next time.
“Seven years ago, I lost from a match point situation (against Abhinn Shyam Guptga) and I did not realise it would require four more finals to achieve this,” said the freshly crowned 29-year old National champion. “He needed to be calmed,” said Vimal Kumar, who had taken on the role of a coach for Bhat. “He has been losing too many times from strong positions.”
A popular winner
With fans running in from all over to congratulate him, Bhat surely was a popular winner as he struggled to disentangle from his supporters and complete the prize ceremony, for he was in a hurry to catch a flight for his next assignment abroad.
Kashyap played with great determination. Handy leads in both games made it look like the little fellow was on his way to another famous victory after downing Anup Sridhar on Tuesday. But Bhat’s experience thwarted Kashyap’s ideas.
The change of pace, crisp placements and the judicious smashes wrecked Kashyap’s approach. A couple of line calls disturbed Kashyap, the second when he was trailing 14-18 in the second game. But, by then Kashyap was fighting a losing battle. Nothing symbolised his anguish more than the way he conceded the final point — the shuttle balancing ever so gently on the net before falling over to his own side.
“Unforgettable moment,” gushed Gokhale on her success. The Air India girl never gave Thulasi any leeway, kept tossing the shuttle around to push the rival into errors. Barring a momentary lull in the second game which she lost, Gokhale was well in control. Thulasi’s inexperience showed but the event will be a milestone in the career of Kerala’s first finalist at the National championships.
In mixed doubles, V. Diju and Jwala Gutta of Petroleum took their third title together — and fourth for each. Jwala then went on to win the women’s doubles, partnering Shruti Kurien. The two have won the title eight times now.
Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas won the men’s doubles beating Tarun K. (AP) and Arun Vishnu (Kar) 21-15, 21-16. This is the fifth time that Rupesh and Sanave have won the title.
The results: Men: Singles: Final: Arvind Bhat (PSPB) bt P. Kashyap (PSPB) 21-19, 21-14.
Doubles: Final: Rupesh Kumar (PSPB) & Sanave Thomas (Ker) bt K. Tarun (AP) & Arun Vishnu (Kar) 21-15, 21-16. Semifinals: Rupesh & Sanave bt Anup Sridhar & V. Diju (PSPB) 13-21, 21-15, 24-22; K. Tarun & Arun bt Jaseel P. Ismail & J.B.S. Vidyadhar (PSPB) 21-14, 21-18.
Women: Singles: Final: Sayali Gokhale (AI) bt P.C. Thulasi (Ker) 21-17, 16-21, 21-13;
Doubles: Final: Jwala Gutta & Shruti Kurien (PSPB) bt Dhanya Nair & Anita Ohlan (Rlys) 21-12, 21-13; Semifinal: Jwala Gutta & Shruthi Kurien bt B.R. Meenakshi (Kar) & Aparna Balan (PSPB) 21-12, 22-20.
Mixed doubles: Final: V. Diju & Jwala Gutta (PSPB) bt Arun Vishnu (Kar) & Aparna Balan (PSPB) 16-21, 21-19, 21-12.