State TT championship: Pune’s Pritha starts post Covid game with two titles
Pune: Fourteen-year-old Pritha Vartikar ousted older opponents to defy the age logic. The teenage paddler claimed two titles at the 82nd Maharashtra State Table Tennis Championships organised by Suburban Table Tennis Association in Mumbai.
The tournament post Covid era saw some changes — playing with two balls, sanitising the balls after the set and changing side only by left. Though these measures increased the game duration, it did not affect the players’ performance.
Though playing her first tournament after 10 months, Pritha played her shots with flair to clinch the sub junior (u15) and junior (u18) titles. She missed her three-in-a-row moment by losing the quarterfinal to Mumbai girl Diya Chitale.
It was the first state championship title in the under-18 category for Pritha.
“The new rules of introduction of sanitiser, players serving with separate balls and avoid touching the opponent’s ball seemed a bit odd. Even less tables were placed at the arena as part of coronavirus prevention measures,” said Pritha who is number one in the state table tennis association sub junior category ranking.
Pritha took time to get into the groove before winning smoothly in the contest and bag the trophy. In the under-15 final, she defeated Ananya Chande from Mumbai (8-11, 15-13, 10-12, 11-5, 15-13, 10-12, 11-6)
“The first few matches were tough for me, but later I enjoyed my game. The confidence of winning the u15 title helped me to perform well in the under-18 title,” she said.
“It was an easy final as I won it 4-0 (against Samrudhi Kulkarni from Solapur). I will focus on improving performance in the youth (u21) category as well. Along with coach Soumen Saha sir, I will analyse my games on video and work on improvements that need to be made,” said Pritha.
“As dates for national and international tournaments are still not fixed, I will continue with route practice,” said Pritha, who is supported by NGO Lakshya.
Final: Pritha Vartikar (PNA) bt Ananya Chande(MSD) (8-11, 15-13, 10-12, 11-5, 15-13, 10-12, 11-6)
Quarter Final: Pritha Vartikar (PNA)bt Risha Mirchandani (TSTTA) (11-4, 9-11, 11-4, 13-11 )
Semis Finals: Ananya Chande (MSD) bt Jennifer Verghese (NGP) (8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5); Pritha Vartikar (PNA) bt Mukta Dalvi (MSD) (5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10)
Junior Girls Singles (under-18)
Final: Pritha Vartikar (PNA) bt Samrudhi Kulkarni (Sol) (11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5)
Semi Finals: Samrudhi Kulkarni (SOL) bt Vidhi Shah (MSD) (11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-3); Pritha Vartikar (PNA) bt 1-Sampada Bhiwandkar (MSD) (5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 14-16, 11-8)
Quarter-Finals: Pritha Vartikar (PNA) bt Taneesha Kotecha (Nsk) (11-7, 14-12, 14-12, 12-10)
Youth Girls (under 21)
Quarter Finals: Diya Chitale (MSD) bt Pritha Vartikar (PNA) (9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6)
Semi-final: Shreya Deshpande (THN) bt Anannya Basak (MSD) (13-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 14-12); Diya Chitale (MSD) bt Samruddhhi Kulkarni (SOL) (11-5, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8)
Finals: Diya Chitale (MSD) bt Shreya Deshpande (THN) (13-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7)
PNA (Pune), MSD (Mumbai Suburban), TDTTA (Thane District Table Tennis Association), NGP (Nagpur), SOL (Solapur), NSK (Nashik) and Thn (Thane)