Dollar delight for 'diamond' Prajakta Savant

Aug 18, 2013, 03:49 IST | Ashwin Ferro and Rohan Koli

Delhi Smashers bosses award Mumbai player $1000 and title of team's diamond girl after she teams up with V Diju to win over Saina Nehwal-led Hyderabad Hotshots in the IBL

Mumbai girl Prajakta Sawant and India’s doubles specialist V Diju stole the show on Saturday as Krrish Delhi Smashers staged a tremendous fightback to beat a formidable Hyderabad Hotshots 3-2 in an Indian Badminton League (IBL) clash at Lucknow on Saturday.

Prajakta Sawant
Krrish Delhi Smashers’ Prajakta Sawant during her mixed doubles match against the Hyderabad Hotshots

Hyderabad were leading 2-0 at the end of the men’s and women’s singles matches after Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk beat Sai Praneeth 19 -21, 21 -19, 11 -7 in the men’s singles and Saina Nehwal outclassed Arundhati Panthawane 21-6, 21-8 in the women’s singles.

Delhi 0-2 down
Later, it was Delhi all the way. First in the men’s doubles, world champions Boon Hoeng Tan and Kien Keat Koo beat V Shem Goh and T Kona 21-14, 21 -20. Then, Malaysian Daren Liew of Delhi stunned veteran Taufik Hidayat 21-10, 21-7 in the second men’s singles match.

Prajakta, roped into the match only because Delhi’s icon player Jwala Gutta was injured, got together with V Diju in the mixed doubles event and beat V Shem Goh and Pradnya Gadre 21-20, 21-15.

The Delhi team’s Indian coach Vikram Bhasin was all praise for Prajakta. “She is not just a talented player, but more importantly, she has a very calm head on her shoulders which she proved today. The Delhi owners called me up immediately after the match and said they wanted to reward her for this performance. I handed the phone to Prajakta, who later told me that they have announced a cash award of USD 1000 for her outstanding effort,” Bhasin told Sunday MiD DAY.

Player of the Day award
Prajakta was also adjudged Vodafone Player of the Day that entitled a cash award of USD 500. Bhasin explained just why Prajakta was their preferred choice to partner Diju.

Jwala Gutta
Krrish Delhi Smashers’ icon player Jwala Gutta is congratulated by chief guest Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi after her team beat Hyderabad Hotshots 3-2 in an IBL match in UP on Saturday.

“Diju told us that Prajakta has very subtle wrists which is very good for doubles play where tough wrists don’t help. She can easily switch play from left to right and vice versa in one, swift action. That’s exactly what we saw today and it was fantastic,” said Bhasin.

Meanwhile, miles away from the scene of action, here in Mumbai, the Sawant household in Mulund was overjoyed. A source close to the family, said: “Prajakta just called to inform us that the team owners have announced a special award for her. She said they are thrilled with her performance and have referred to her as the diamond of this team.”

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