PANAJI: Goa’s star badminton players Anura Prabhudesai and H Arunesh came within a few points of upsetting their much higher ranked opponents but failed to convert their changes and bowed out in the opening round of the individual events of the 37th National Games at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium on Sunday.
Former India No. 1 Anura Prabhudesai had five match points against top seed and world no. 38 Aakarshi Kashyap of Chattisgarh in the second game but could not convert any of them and then retired in the decider citing a hamstring pull with the score reading 19-21, 25-23, 13-7.
Earlier, Arunesh gave India No. 6 Alap Mishra of Madhya Pradesh a run for his money but ended up making a couple of wrong judgement calls in the decider to lose 21-10, 13-21, 21-18 in 49 minutes. With the individual competition in the National Games featuring only the top stars of the country, the draw was always going to be tough for the Goan contingent.
But their singles players rose to the occasion and put up a spirited performance on Sunday. Prabhudesai used her height and long reach to control the net brilliantly throughout the 54-minute first round encounter against Kashyap and almost pulled off an upset of the day.
But a hamstring pull midway through the second game saw her calling for medical attention.
Though with victory in sight, he tried to push herself and her game plan to put pressure on her opponent bore fruit as she earned three match points at 20-17. However, Kashyap used all her experience to pin Prabhudesai to the backcourt before hitting a cross court drop kept her in contention and the local girl made a crucial error at 19-20 on service return.
She did manage to earn two more match points but failed to convert both. It was quite clear in the decider that Prabhudesai’s movements were hampered and she decided to concede the match while trailing 13-7. “I was feeling my hamstring even before the start of the match since I had played four matches in the team events as well. But I decided to push myself and it would have been fantastic if I could have converted any of the match points in the second game,’ said Prabhudesai after the match.
In the men’s singles first round clash, Arunesh took time to find his rhythm against Mishra but fought back from a game down to force a decider.
In the third and final game, the only Goa player to win both his matches in the team championship had opened up a 16-12 lead and looked good to advance.
But Mishra increased the tempo of the rallies while Arunesh was guilty of playing it safe. That allowed the Madhya Pradesh player to take control of the proceedings and win nine of the next 11 points to pocket the game and the match.
Arunesh’s campaign in the mixed doubles competition also came to an end at the quarterfinal stage as he and partner Pranjal Chimulkar went down 21-13, 21-14 against Assam’s Suraj Goala and Manali Bora. Goa’s challenge in the competition came to an end later in the day when the men’s doubles combination of Arjun and Tejan Fallary and women’s doubles pair of Anagha Karandikar and Lydia Barretto also lost their respective matches.
Impressive performance from Netball team (sub head) At the Campal indoor stadium, Goa’s men’s Netball team came proved that they were no pushovers as they narrowly lost to Jammu and Kashmir 52-50 in their first Group A clash.
Jammu and Kashmir began the match with three quick points before the hosts managed to find their footing.
The two teams went into half time locked at 26-26 and had everything to play for in the fourth and final quarter with the scores levelled at 39-39. Jammu and Kashmir’s Goal Shooter Arif Khan scored 10 of the 13 points they earned in the final quarter while the combination of Aakash Gaikwad and Sanmay Bandekar fell two points short from earning a draw for the hosts.
Coach Sandeep Shetkar was all praise for the team saying, “The team played their heart out in the match and had certain situations fell our way in the final quarter, the result could have been different. But overall, I am happy with the performance.”
In the women’s group stage match, Goa went down against Telangana 52-46. Important results Badminton Men’s singles: Alap Mishra (MP) bt H Arunesh (Goa) 21-10, 13-21, 21-18; Abhishek Saini (Chd) bt Kaushal Dharmamer (Mah) 21-17, 21-19; M Mithun (Kar) bt Siddharth Gupta (TN) 21-14, 21-17; 4-M Tharun (Tel) bt Varun Kapur (Mah) 21-5, 21-6; 3-Kartikey Gulshan Kumar (Del) bt Karan Dhavaskar (Goa) 21-8, Harsheel Dani (Mah) bt Ansal Yadav (UP) 21015, 21-18; 1-Kiran George (Ker) bt K Jagadeesh (AP) 21-19, 19-21, 21-11 Women’s singles: M Meghna Reddy (Tel) bt Ashmita Chaliha (Asm) 21-19, 17-17 (retd); Mansi Singh (UP) bt Sakshi Kurbhelgi 21-9, 21-9; 1-Aakarshi Kashyap (Chattisgarh) bt Anura Prabhudesai (Goa) 19- 21, 25-23, 13-7 (Retd); 4-Anupama Upadhyaya (Har) bt Purva Barve (Mah) 21-11, 21-15 Mixed doubles (quarterfinals): 1-Navneeth Bokka/K Maneesha (Tel) bt HV Nithin/Ramya Venkatesh (Kar) 21-14, 19-21, 21-16; 2-Nitin Kumar/Kanika Kanwal (Del) bt Siddharth Elango/Vaishnavi Khadkekar (Tel) 21-15, 21-18; Suraj Goala/Manali Bora (Asm) bt H Arunesh/Pranjal Chimulkar (Goa) 21-13, 21-14 Men’s doubles (quarterfinals): HV Nithin/K Pruthvi Roy (Kar) bt Arjun Fallary/Tejan Fallary 21-17, 21- 12 Women’s doubles (quarterfinals): Simran Singhi/Ritika Thaker (Mah) bt Anagha Karandikar/Lydia Barretto (Goa) 21-10, 21-11 Netball Men: Group A: Haryana bt Maharashtra 63-48, Jammu and Kashmir bt Goa 52-50 Group B: Delhi bt Kerala 58-41; Karnataka bt Telangana 61-44 Women: Group A: Haryana bt Himachal Pradesh 44-35, Telangana bt Goa 52-46