Monday, Sep 15, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The Andhra Pradesh boys' team which won the South Zone inter-State badminton championship at Pondicherry on Sunday. Right: The Andhra Pradesh team, winner of the girls' title.
In the tame women's final against Karnataka, Fatima Nazneen in good touch helped bring the happy tidings by winning her singles and alongwith Aparna Balan grabbing the doubles too to clinch the issue without having to play the second singles.
The men's final however turned a long drawn affair and stretched late into the night. Andhra Pradesh proved it was no push over by matching its rival Karnataka, which was aspiring its first title in 26 years. Karnataka's confidence of beating Kerala however melted once the final began and more so when the two teams split the first two singles and played a close first doubles.
The doubles in fact went full distance in addition to an avoidable 25 minutes interruption when a partial prize distribution was arranged. This when the chief guest Lt Governor K.R. Malkani himself gave the impression of being more interested in the action in the middle. That he sat through the doubles thereafter proved the point.
Andhra pair of Prudhvi and Sunil clinched the doubles at the expense of Ajitwije Tilak and Jose George to queer the pitch of the contest. Earlier Andhra's promising youngster T. Dinesh had given his team a boost by downing experienced Vijay Lancy over three games. Anup Sridhar then restored parity in the tie score by taking the measure of S.D.S. Krishna.
It was left to Rohan Castalino to carry on Karnataka's fight but despite showing promise fell to Prudhvi in three games and Andhra took the winning lead.
AP bags titles
Earlier in the morning, Andhra Pradesh annexed both the boys' and girls' titles both by an idential 2-0 margin over Kerala and Karnataka respectively. The country's top junior Saina Nehwal led the charge for the girls and T. Dinesh guided the boys. Barring a brief moment in the boys' doubles when the Kerala pair Ayyappan Krishnan and Tarique Mohammed snatched a game from Dinesh and Saratchandra and threatened to stretch the tie to the second singles, there was little to stop the Andhra players.
Men's final: Andhra Pradesh bt Karnataka 3-1 (T. Dinesh beat Vijay Lancy 14-15, 15-9, 15-11; S.D.S. Krishna lost to Anup Sridhar 13-15, 9-15; A.Prudhvi and P. Sunil beat Ajitwije tilak and Jose George 11-15, 15-11, 15-11; A. Prudhvi beat Rohan Castalino 15-12, 10-15, 15-4; (semifinals): Andhra Pradesh bt Tamil Nadu 3-0 (S.D.S. Krishna bt Jerry Martin 9-15, 15-4, 15-3; A.Prudhvi bt K. Shivakumar 7-15, 15-7, 15-4; Prudhvi and P. Sunil bt Venkatesh and Raghavan 15-8, 15-3).
Women's final: Kerala bt Karnataka 2-0 (Fatima Nazneen bt Shalini Prakash 13-10, 11-6; Fatima Nazneen and Aparna Balan bt Shalini Prakash and Varsha Belwadi 15-7 15-4); (semifinals): Karnataka bt Tamil Nadu 2-1 (Shalini Prakash bt Anees Kausar 11-6, 11-4; Shalini Prakash and Varsha Belwadi lost to Divya and Priya 12-15, 6-15; Madhuri Vijay bt Divya 11-7, 11-6).
Junior boys' final: Andhra Pradesh bt Kerala 2-0 (T. Dinesh beat Ayyappan Krishnan 15-12, 15-0; T. Dinesh and Saratchandra bt Ayyappan Krishnan and Tarique Mohammed 4-15, 15-7, 15-6).
Junior girls' final: Andhra Pradesh bt Karnataka 2-0 (Saina Nehwal bt Varsha Belwadi 13-12, 11-3; Deepti Shalini and T. Sowmya bt G.M. Nischita and Madhuri Vijay 15-9, 15-8); (semifinals): Andhra Pradesh bt Kerala 2-1 (Sharada Govardhini lost to Aparna Balan 4-11, 9-11; Deepti Shalini and T. Soumya bt Aparna Balan and Susan Rajan 15-12, 15-17, 15-9; Saina Nehwal bt Susan Rajan 11-2 concd).
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