Pune: Sanjana Ambekar came out with a top class performance to outshine Anna Kovalenko of Ukraine 21-14, 20-22, 21-19 to clinch the Under-13 title in the Israel Youth 2018 badminton championship at Rishon Le Zion in Israel.
Sixth grade student of Vikhe Patil Memorial School took 44 minutes to claim her first international title.
Earlier in the semi-finals, Sanjana got the better of Paola Gynga of Moldova 18-21, 22-20, 21-17 in a 47-minute battle.
Sanjana, who had also entered the doubles final partnering Erika Titokhod of Ukraine, could not continue her winning spree, as the duo lost to the pair of Paola Gynga and Anna Kovalenko 8-21, 14-21 in 26 minutes.
In the mixed doubles contest, Sanjana, who paired up with Shreyas Sane, lost 21-19, 22-24, 12-21 against Ukrainian pair of Rostyslav Zabrdodin and Erika Titokhod in 61 minutes to settle for bronze medal. Sanjana trains at Nikhil Kanetaka Badminton Academy (NKBA).
Other NKBA medalists
Pratham Wani and Riya Habbu (both Under-15) bagged a triple crown respectively.
The other gold winning performances were; Suveer Pradhan and Pratham (boy’s doubles) and Pratham and Riya (mixed doubles & girl’s doubles).
The six silver medals won had Krishna bag a ‘silver triple.’ Suveer (boy’s singles & mixed doubles).
Figuring in all finals, the academy trainees were up against their own in two events; the Under-15 boys (Pratham v Suveer) and Under-13 boys (Shreyas v Krishna) respectively.
Interestingly, the Under-15 section was a 5/5 gold-medal sweep for the Pune-based NKBA trainees.
A total of seven players from the Academy participated in the tournament, which included Anish Kamath. The tournament played on a league cum knock out basis had all seven players emerge winners of their respective groups.
NKBA head Coach and Director Nikhil Kanetkar said; “Honestly it’s a great feeling of contentment having so many performances.
“The wins will do the players a world good in confidence going forward. Winning away from your country is a different feeling. Overall the players did well given the the work load needed to play multiple events in a short span.”
Results (of Sanjana Ambekar):
Final: 1-Sanjana Ambekar bt 2-Anna Kovalenko (Ukr) 21-14, 20-22, 21-19.
Semi-final: 1-Sanjana Ambekar bt Paola Gynga (Mda) 18-21, 22-20, 21-17. Quarterfinal: bye
Final: Sanjana Ambekar (Ind) and Erika Titokhod (Ukr) lost to Paola Gynga (Mda) and Anna Kovalenko (Ukr) 8-21, 14-21.
Semifinal: Sanjana Ambekar (Ind) and Erika Titokhod (Ukr) bt Maria Eleni Aristopoulou (Cyp) and Antonia Terzo (Cyp) 21-8, 21-10.
Semifinal: 1-Shreyas Sane and Sanjana Ambekar lost to Rostyslav Zabrdodin (Ukr) and Erika Titokhod (Ukr) 21-19, 22-24, 12-21.
Quarter-final: 1-Shreyas Sane and Sanjana Ambekar bt Yahav Sade (Isr) and Antonia Terzi (Cyp) 21-7, 21-4.