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Chennai-born Kiwi hoping to take flight

Though the Kiwis are out of contention, but Kritteka has made heads turn by winning all her doubles matches at the Shiv Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports City, reports Anupma Tripathi.

other Updated: Oct 26, 2008 23:10 IST
Anupma Tripathi

Seeing her play is like watching a movie in fast-forward mode. The girl's quick reflexes, aggression and her ability to astonish opponents are some of the traits that make her a treat to watch. Meet Kritteka Gregory, an 18-year-old player of Indian origin representing New Zealand at the World Junior Badminton Championships.

Though the Kiwis are out of contention, but Kritteka has made heads turn by winning all her doubles matches at the Shiv Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports City.

"I moved to New Zealand at the age of 9. Since then, I have been to India only twice. This is my third visit," said the Chennai-born girl.

Kritteka's parents moved to New Zealand in search of greener pastures. However, it was in India that her parents recognized the spark. "As a kid, I trained with Sanjeev Sachdeva (India's junior coach) and he told my mother that I could make it big with proper training," said Kritteka.

"At the beginning, she wasn't good enough but when I saw her play this time, it was a revelation," said Sachdeva.

In her first year of college as a student of digital design, Kritteka has her plans chalked out. "I want to be a seasoned player and am aiming for the top."

Having said that, she is aware of her drawbacks. "I will be honest with you. Till now, I have done nothing spectacular apart from winning the doubles title at the under-17 Ballaret Open in Australia." New Zealand's doubles coach, Thana Balan Ari Krishnan, was all praise. "She prefers placing grey matter over power. That's what makes her stand out." Her doubles partner Mary O'Connor agreed. "Ketty (Kritteka) plays mentally. She is cool-minded and fun to play with," she quipped.

India go down fighting

India put up a good fight but went down to world No. 2 Korea 2-3 in the last four stage. The hosts will now compete for the third position with Malaysia on Monday. China beat Malaysia 3-0 to set up a final with Korea.

Prajakta Sawant and Aditya Prakash lost the mixed doubles to Gi Jung Kim and Hye Won Eom 21-23, 16-21. In the women's singles, Saina Nehwal beat Youn joo Bae 14-21, 21-15, 21-8 but Praneeth Sai B. and Pranav Chopra lost the men's doubles to Gi Jung Kim and Young Woo Choi 14-21, 19-21.