Junior and Youth National table tennis champion Diya Chitale of Maharashtra displayed remarkable fighting spirit to emerge the U-17 girls' singles champion and also claimed the doubles bronze at the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 here in Guwahati, Assam today.
In an all-Maharashtra singles final, the 16-year-old produced a stunning show of resilience to edge statemate Swastika Ghosh 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 3-11, 13-11. The two youngsters battled hard in the enthralling summit showdown where the deciding final game tested their grit and stamina. While Ghosh held the initial advantage to go up to 7-2 in the decider and even had multiple match points, it was Chitale's strong determination and confidence that helped her make a winning comeback.
For Chitale, the win is even more special after she had to settle for the silver medal the last time.
“We know each other's games well and hence it was expected to be a close match. It was going well for me till the 4th game. I was leading 3-1 but then Swastika picked up her game and was going strong in the decider," said an elated Chitale after her victory.
“I am very happy about the way I fought back in the decider and saved 3 match points. This win means a lot since I had lost in the finals of Khelo India Youth Games in 2019. I am very happy that I managed to change from Silver in 2019 to Gold in 2020,” added the Mumbai paddler, who is currently enjoying a career-high world ranking of No. 35 in the juniors.
In the doubles section, Chitale and Ghosh paired up to bring home the bronze for the state of Maharashtra, who thoroughly dominated table tennis in Khelo India Youth Games this year. Maharashtra's supremacy is further highlighted by the fact that they finished the overall champions in table tennis, riding on their rich haul of two gold, four silver and one bronze. Maharashtra also bagged the state champions trophy in both the U-17 and the U-21 categories to end a memorable campaign on a high.