Top teams advance in junior TT nationals

Ajmer, Dec 25 : Holders West Bengal, who lost the services of Ronit Bhanja because of overages issue, managed a table-top finish in the sub-junior boys' category with Delhi following them in Group A in the ONGC Cadet and Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships here Wednesday.

Bhanja, who was part of the West Bengal team but was not played Tuesday, was debarred from the championships. Yet, in his absence, West Bengal team pulled it off to be the No.1 team, keeping a clean slate. Delhi, who lost to West Bengal, won the other two matches to take the second place in the group.

Delhi boys, however, have a tough opponent in the pre-quarter-finals, drawn against the PSPB Academy. But for this, the rest of the big teams have easy draws and should go through to the quarter-finals.

All top teams qualified for the main draw without much difficulty. Tamil Nadu, placed in a five-team Group H, had to play an extra match than the teams in other groups. Yet, they showed their mettle to be the group toppers.

In sub-junior girls, a tough pre-quarter-final battle is on cards between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Champions Andhra did top group A, but Karnataka finished behind Maharashtra A in group C. The latter is drawn to meet Assam in the last-16 stage. Delhi, expectedly, topped Group G and will meet Chandigarh in the pre-quarters. Hosts Rajasthan did manage a last-16 berth and will run into Goa.

Rajasthan also made it to the pre-quarters in the Cadet Boys section, finishing behind Tamil Nadu in Group G. The hosts clash with North Bengal while Tamil Nadu will meet a vibrant Uttar Pradesh. Delhi run into neighbouring Haryana in the pre-quarters after both teams finished second in their respective groups.

The other teams that qualified for the main draw include PSPB Academy, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra A, Maharashtra B, Assam, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

In group toppers' clash in Cadet Girls, Delhi will take on Andhra Pradesh while Tamil Nadu are to meet Gujarat. The other group leaders have rather an easy draw as they meet the second finished teams from different groups.

With semi-finals and finals slated for Thursday evening, all the semi-finals will be spotted tonight. After that, the individual qualification matches will begin Thursday in all categories.

--IANS (Posted on 25-12-2013)

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