Dempo Goodwill Ambassador, Akanksha Salunkhe returned to the domestic circuit by winning the girls under-15 title, in the Rs 1.5 lakh NSCI Juniors & Doubles Open Squash Championship, an SRFI 1-Star competition, at the National Sports Club of India, Worli, Mumbai.
Featuring in a competition after a brief hiatus, the Vasco lass overcame Aditi Prasad of Mumbai 11-7, 11-8, 12-10 in an exciting championship round.
Though Akanksha won in straight sets the victory was far from comfortable with Prasad coming up with a determined challenge right through.
Akanksha endured stiff resistance in the opening two sets and held on dearly in the third when Prasad put her under immense pressure and threatened to extend the tie that ended in thrilling fashion over extra points.
“I played in Mumbai after quite some time. It’s good to know that I am in form. The match was not easy. Aditi gave me a tough time. I had to work hard for victory,” explained Akanksha.
It was all in the family for the Adik siblings, Aryaman and Adik of Otters Club, who won the boys under-15 and under-13 titles.
Ananya Dabke was a significant girls’ under-11 winner after overcoming Aarya Ogale in a thriller. Diya Joukhani of Khar Gymkhana and Aishwarya Bhattarcharya of Bombay Gymkhana were the other title winners among the girls.
While the formidable CCI pair of Rishad Pandole and Sahill Vora won the Open Doubles crown, Aishwarya Singh and Abhishek Agarwal, both of Jindal Squash Academy, won the boys under-17 and under-19 titles, respectively.
Results (all finals): Open Doubles: Rishad Pandole/Sahil Vora (CCI) bt Aishwarya Singh/Laxman Joshi (Jindal) 15-6, 15-17, 15-10. Girls U-11: Ananya Dabke bt Aarya Ogale 9-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-4. Girls U-13: Diya Joukhani (Khar Gym) bt Akanksha Rao (Chembur Gym) 11-4, 11-9, 11-8. Girls U-15: Akanksha Salunke (Goa) bt Aditi Prasad 11-7, 11-8, 12-10. Girls U-17: Aishwarya Bhattacharya (Bombay Gym) bt Aishwarya Nambiar (Otters Club) 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9. Boys U-11: 2-Druv Vazirani (Khar Gym) bt 1-Tanay Punjabi (Otters Club) 12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 13-11. Boys U-13: 2-Advait Adik (Otters Club) bt 1-Aryan Parekh (Matunga Gym) 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 11-9. Boys U-15: 2-Aryaman Adik (Otters Club) bt 4-Dev Vazirani (Khar Gym) 11-1, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8. Boys U-17: Aishwarya Singh (Jindal SA) bt Akhilesh Yadav (Jindal SA) 11-3, 15-13, 11-4. Boys U-19: Abhishek Agarwal (Jindal) bt Ankit Acharya (Bombay Gym) 11-4, 11-7, 10-12, 11-2. [NT]