by Simon Daish
A defeated finalist in the Under 17 Boys’ Singles, Alan Kurmangaliyev aimed to leave Muscat on a positive note with another title shot opening up in the Under 15 draw.
Topping his group, Kurmangaliyev enjoyed a relatively trouble-free run to the final with quarter-final opponent Samran Karimi of Iran, the only player to take a game off the Kazakh (11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8). Following up with a crushing 3-0 win against Yemen’s Ebrahim Abdulhakim Gubran (11-7, 11-6, 11-7), Kurmangaliyev produced a very different type of display in the final. Trailing India’s Ankur Bhattacharjee on two occasions, Kurmangaliyev overcame his nerves to complete a successful comeback effort (7-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7).
“I feel very good, and I fought very hard. The match went all the way till the end, and I could not shake my nerves out of the game! In the end, I feel great for winning the tournament. My coach helped me to play well in this event, and most likely, it was my psychological advantage that allowed me to fight in every match. I felt very good mentally during the match, and I wasn’t afraid to play confidently,” said Alan Kurmangaliyev
Lifting the Under 17 Boys’ Singles trophy on day two, India’s Payas Jain will leave Muscat with two titles to his name following a successful campaign on the Under 19 front.
In straight games, the top-ranked entry breezed through his Round of 16 fixture against Bangladesh’s Mohutasin Ahmed Ridoy (11-7, 11-9, 12-10). Jain’s ambitious plans received another boost as one of his main title rivals, Khalid Alshareif of Saudi Arabia, fell at the same hurdle, opening up the draw as a result. Navigating a nervy five-game semi-final affair against fellow Indian representative Varun Shanker Balusuri (11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 5-11, 11-1), Jain defeated another compatriot in Yashansh Malik (11-5, 11-7, 11-9) to secure the plaudits.
“I am really happy as this is my first Under 19 title, and I’ve won two titles in a row for the first time! In three days, I will be involved in the Indian National Championships, and I am really looking forward to it. I will play in Slovakia and Hungary after that. These wins have really boosted my confidence, so I hope I will play even better moving forward,” said Payas Jain
Abdulrahman Al Taher proved the standout player in the Under 11 Boys’ Singles, handing Saudi Arabia its first trophy at WTT Youth Contender Muscat.
Receiving a BYE in the quarter-finals, Al Taher’s opening fixture of the day saw him recover a one-game deficit against Lebanon’s Ahmad Fahes (8-11, 11-1, 11-7, 11-7) to earn his spot in the final. The margins were even narrower at the final hurdle as Al Taher squeezed past Qatar’s Mohammed Al-Saluati 3-2 (13-11, 4-11, 13-11, 12-14, 11-7).
“This is my first time winning a competition. I felt okay mentally, and I think this helped me to win. I hope I can win again at another WTT event,” said Abdulrahman Al Taher
Play resumes on Thursday 14th October with the first day of Girls’ Singles action focusing exclusively on the Under 13 and Under 17 draws. Both events play to a conclusion.
For event details of WTT Youth Contender Muscat, click here.