by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Successful earlier in the proceedings when partnering Manush Utpalbhai Shah and Jeet Chandra to Junior Boys’ Team gold; Manav Vikash Thakkar added two further titles to his credit on the concluding day of action. Thus in every event for which he was eligible, the top prize was secured.
He won the Junior Boys’ Doubles event in partnership with the left handed Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the pair beating colleagues Raegan Alburquerque and Shubh Goel in the final (11-6, 11-6, 11-8) prior to donning the Junior Boys’ Singles crown.
”It was much easier than anticipated. The left and right combination was too much for our rivals. Raegan played really well but he and Shubh lacked co-ordination.” Manav Vikash Thakkar
Favourite for gold, the top seed, at the final hurdle of the Junior Boys’ Singles event he accounted Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen, the no.7 seed (11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6) having earlier in the day beaten colleagues Soham Bhattachary (11-3, 11-1, 11-4, 11-8) and Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the no.5 seed (11-9, 11-5, 11-5, 11-4) in the quarter and semi-final rounds respectively.
“I was confident from the very beginning in the final. He is an attacking player by nature and the only way to overcome his tactics was to return to his backhand. He has a very good forehand; my ploy of pushing him away from the table paid off.” Manav Vikash Thakkar
In the opposite half of the draw, in the latter stages Pang Yew En Koen had beaten India’s Snehit Suravajjula, the no.3 seed and winner earlier in the year in Jordan (13-15, 11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 17-15, 11-6) prior to securing his place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to Thailand’ Yanapong Panagitgun, the no.2 seed (11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5).
Defeat for Pang Yew En Koen but there was success, on what was a busy day for the 15 year old, he won the Cadet Boys’ Singles event beating the host nation’s Lalremnuata Alberto at the final hurdle (8-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6).
“I lost the first game against Alberto. He is an attacking player but I slowed down and used my topspin play to outwit him. The change in my game helped me win gold”. Pang Yew En Koen
The second step of the podium for India in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event, in the Hopes Boys’ Singles competition it was the top two steps. An all host nation final witnessed success for Preyesh Suresh Raj in opposition to Divyanish Srivastava (12-10, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9).
“I was down against Divyansh but I was confident I could come back. He played well. In the decider, I targeted his backhand and attacked strongly.” Preyesh Suresh Raj
Success, no doubt Preyesh Suresh Raj is a name to note for the future.