Unseeded Varun Sharma of St Blaise High School (Andheri) stunned Inesh Punjabi of Lilavatibai Podar (Santacruz) 11-5, 11-7 and 11-8 to book a spot in the final of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) inter-school table tennis boys’ U-16 event at the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex, Dharavi on Friday.
St Blaise’s Varun Sharma at the MSSA table tennis tourney yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande
Last year, Varun won gold in the boys' U-14 event and also bronze medal in the boys’ U-16 team event.
This time round, the 14-year-old got walkovers in the first and second round before he got the better of Yashodham High School’s (Goregaon) Parth Nasere in straight games 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 in Round Three. Then, in the pre-quarters, Varun created the first upset of the boys’ U-16 event when beat No 4 seed Shrinath Markad of Utpal Sanghvi (Juhu) 11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 11-3. In the quarter-finals, Varun thrashed Amey Shenoy of Rustomjee International (Dahisar) 11-5, 11-5, 11-4 in 13 minutes flat.
"I was confident of making the final once I beat the No 4 seed. It’s been a long day and I’m nervous now as I’ll be facing the No 1 seed (Atharva Kurade of Dr Antonio Da Silva High School) tomorrow," said Varun on Friday.
In the other semi-final, Kurade beat No 2 seed Parthav Kelkar of IES VN Sule Guruji English (Dadar) in a keenly contested encounter 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10.