Manav-led PSPB start favourites for Youth TT crown

Sonipat (Haryana)


The presence of Manav Thakkar should reassure PSPB of being the favourite team to lift the trophy in the 80th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships which begins at the DPS Hall here on Tuesday.

But Manav alone is not the reason for Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) getting the tag as Jeet Chandra, Parth Virmani and Siddesh Pandey are in fine form to play their role to see the top-seeded squad reach the top-of-podium finish. Manav had helped the team win both the Junior and Youth titles in the last edition at Durgapur, besides helping himself to three individual crowns.

Unfortunately, however, he is eligible to compete only in the Youth section this year and that would hamper PSPB in the Junior Boys with a new set of players, led by Anukram Jain, Sameer Pandey, Satyamgiri Gupta and Aditya Jain.

The PSPB's Youth Girls squad will sorely miss the services of Archana Girish Kamath, who had to pull out at the last minute because of a leg niggle. Though she has begun her workouts slowly, doctors have advised her not to put too much strain. That leaves the job taking the team to the medal round entirely on Prapti Sen, Yashini Sivashankar and Srushti Halaengadi.

Incidentally, Archana won the singles titles in both sections last year and had helped PSPB win the team titles in the Institutional championships as well.

The PSPB girls will face a tough challenge from West Bengal which has in its ranks Surbhi Patwari, Poymontee Baisya and Kaushani Nath, an experienced lot, with additional support from Premangi Ghosh.-IANS