Ritika Thaker and Simran Singhi had finished runners up on three occasions at the National Badminton Championships. The same was not to be this time at the 44th Junior National Championships held at city badminton courts, Rajahmundry. Pitted against top seeds Aditi Bhatt and Tanisha Crasto in the fourth match of the day. The Maharashtra pair played their hearts out to emerge victoriously. They had lost against the same opponents on the last three occasions which they had played. This was the fourth time they were facing each other.

Strong determination and focus with will power were what they needed. They played the same way and wrapped up the first game quite easily at 21/14, the scrip was going as per their plan and they were leading 20/15 in the second game and had all the chances to win the championship in straight games. But some error in judgment and few net chords hit by the opponents resulting in a lapse of focus costed Ritika Simran the game. Aditi and Tanisha scored 7 straight points to win the game at 22/20.

The decider saw Ritika and Simran playing with more intensity, focus and more aggression to keep a slender lead throughout. This helped them in winning the third set at 21/18 to become National Champions. This marathon match lasting an hour and seventeen minutes. It may be mentioned that Ritika is the first girl from Nagpur to win a doubles National Title, another Nagpur girl Arundhati Pantawane had clinched the national title in singles.

National Badminton Champions From Nagpur

A jubilant Ritika and Simran said after the match that they had this last chance in life to become junior national champions and they put in all their ideas, strokes and experience to clinch the title. They were very very happy about winning this title. Ritika thanked her coaches Robin Simon, Ajay Dayal and all the practice partners for their untiring efforts.

Her college Hislop College Kalpana madam, MBA, Lakhani sir, NDBA, Kundatai and Mangesh uncle for their support, Thane academy Vad sir and Akshay sir where she went for practice with Simran and her parents and well-wishers for making her reach this place. She said they would work harder to make a mark at the senior level.

Another rising star of Nagpur Rohan Gurbani had to be content with a Silver, he lost to top seed M. Mieraba in two tough games, the score reading 21/18 and 21/19. Rohan plays at Prakash Padukone academy at Bengaluru.

(With inputs from thelivenagpur)