HSB / Dharamshala
Top-seeded West Bengal went down tamely to Maharashtra in Cadet Boys as the latter won 3-1 to book their place in the quarterfinals of the UTT 81st Cadet and Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships at the Indoor Stadium here today.
The other teams that entered quarterfinals included North Bengal, Karnataka, Haryana, PSPBA, Maharashtra B and Tamil Nadu.
Equally surprising was the entry of hosts Himachal Pradesh, who belied all expectations, to enter the second-stage knockout as their Sub-Junior Boys toppled Kerala to finish second in Group F of the Similarly, Uttrakhand pushed Odisha to the third spot in Group 2 to finish second behind Tamil Nadu and earn a main draw berth.
Himachal, precariously placed at the end of the second round yesterday, ended their group engagements with two wins and one loss. However, their first-round 3-1 win against Kerala and the third-round 3-0 triumph over Meghalaya had helped them the spot in the pre-quarterfinals, where they will play a superior and second-seeded West Bengal. Yet, it was a fantastic showing by the Himachal paddlers to make a mark in the Nationals.
As for Uttarakhand, their Sub-Junior Girls lost their match to Tamil Nadu but won the other two in their group against Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh. The notable 3-2 victory came against Odisha which helped them get a pre-quarterfinal slot.
In Cadet Girls, West Bengal were given the top-seed position when the second stage open draw was made, while Maharashtra B earned the second spot seeding with Maharashtra A No.3 and North Bengal just behind them at No. 4.
The other teams that made it to the knockout stage included Rajasthan, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Telangana, North Bengal, Goa, Karnataka, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Pondicherry and Punjab.
In Sub-Junior Boys, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal got the No. 1 and 2 seed positions with Karnataka No. 3 and Delhi No. 4 even as North Bengal, Assam, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Chandigarh, PSPBA, Maharashtra A, Maharashtra B, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and hosts Himachal Pradesh qualified for the second stage.
Though Tamil Nadu team has retained their No. 1 position, Telangana, who finished runner-up last year, have been upstaged to the No. 2 position by West Bengal.
In Sub-Junior Girls, Karnataka got the pride of place with Tamil Nadu, the No. 2 seeding. West Bengal and Maharashtra A were accorded the No. 3 and No.4 seeding. The other 12 teams that qualified for the pre-quarterfinals included Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra B, Kerala, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and North Bengal.
The pre-quarterfinals in all categories are scheduled for the day with the quarterfinals and semi-final to be played tomorrow. The fourth day of the championships will culminate with finals in all the four categories being played.
Meanwhile, PSPB Academy defeated Gujarat 3-0 to enter the Cadet Boys quarterfinals, while Maharashtra B accounted for Punjab 3-0, Telangana downed Rajasthan 3-0 and Tamil Nadu beat Chandigarh 3-0.