Varun Mujumdar of Arya Vidyamandir (Bandra) entered the final of the boys' U-16 Mumbai Schools Sports Association inter-school badminton tournament after he shocked top seed Akshan Shetty of Thakur Vidyamandir (Kandivli) at the Cricket Club of India badminton courts yesterday. Third seed Varun registered a 21-19, 13-21, 21-19 win over Akshan in a match that lasted 45 minutes.
In the opening game, Varun had a 10-6 lead, but Akshan caught up with him at 19-19 before Varun sealed the first game 21-19. The second game went neck-and-neck till 4-4, after which some brilliant shots saw Akshan take control of the game to win it 21-13 to take the match to the decider.
In the third game, Varun took a 9-3 lead, even as Akshan committed too many unforced errors, hitting wide and long. The Kandivli school shuttler tried to claw back and was successful till he was trailing to Varun by a point at 18-19.
Third time plucky
But Varun kept his cool and thwarted Akshan's comeback bid to win 21-19. In the process, he notched up his first victory in three attempts over his 15-year-old rival.
"In the previous two meetings, Akshan beat me hands down. Today is a memorable day considering I defeated him for the first time in the five years we have been playing," said the Santacruz resident who trains at the Shuttle Craze Academy at Willingdon Catholic Gymkhana, Santacruz.
Meanwhile, top seed Akshan lamented his shortcomings. "Today, I couldn't play my normal game. Varun played better and he deserved this win," said Akshan, who trains under Uday Pawar at the Goregaon Sports Club.