Vastavam web: Table tennis player Archana Girish Kamath today qualified for the Youth Olympics in her last attempt, joining fellow Indian Manav Thakkar for the October event in Buenos Aires. She heaved a sigh of relief after beating Malaysian Chang Alice Li Sian 4-1 in the final of the Road to Buenos Aires 2018 YOG Series Oceania at Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
The junior paddler, who jumped a few places in this month’s ranking to be world number 12, defeated her Malaysian rival 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8.In a way, Archana was lucky as SAI clearance came in the nick of time for her and coach Massimo Costantini to travel to the Cook Islands on June 6 to be in time for the event starting on Friday. The trip to Rarotonga was, indeed, a tiresome affair with long layovers making it a 36-hour journey.
The top-seeded Indian had a first-round bye but in the second round it was tough against the Philippines’ Jannah Maryam Romeron, who not only went ahead with a 2-0 lead but also posed a lot of problems for Archana.However, the determined Indian won the crucial third game with a minimal margin and the next on extended points to restore parity. From there, it was a confident Archana who thumped her rival from the Philippines to enter the semifinals with a 11-13, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7, 11-3.