The Nagpur Kirtesh, Devika, Nikkita and Nabeel transporters impress at the Maharashtra Junior Championship

NAGPUR: The Maharashtra State Junior Badminton Championship proved to be memorable for local carriers.

First, they created a story by winning the Inter-District title without losing a single game last Wednesday and later in individual events, the city's carriers sealed their authority with style.

Ritika Thaker, the most experienced pitcher in the city, won twice as many under-19 girls with her partner Simran Singhi. Ritika missed the double bag when she and Nabeel Ahmed fell fighting in the mixed doubles final against Thane pair of Rohan Thool and Simran Singhi.

Although there were no local players in both singles and boys' doubles, two of them simply missed the mark for a mustache.

Kirtesh Chaudhari undoubtedly emerged as the find of the tournament. The 16-year-old, who surprisingly skipped the Nagpur District Championship last month, stormed the semifinal of boys singles out of the blue. The talented boy was even close to entering the final, but he squandered a golden opportunity.

Kirtesh gave a big scare to top seed Rahoul Kanne in a fast-paced semis encounter. Kirtesh failed to capitalize on his chances and lost 23-25, 11-21 in 33 minutes. Had he won the extended first game, the story could have been completely different.

Earlier in the quarters, Kirtesh was at his best when I rallied back to oust his citymate Nabeel Ahmed in three thrilling games.

The six-foot tall Nabeel also had a fruitful tournament. After playing his role to perfection in the team championship, Nabeel excelled in the individual events too.

Maybe playing in the three events (singles, doubles and mixed doubles) tired him at the end of the tournament.

The duo of Nabeel and Gandhar Nawale threatened to knock out second seeds Harshal Jadhav and Yash Shah in the boys doubles. Gandhar and Nabeel lost 16-21, 20-22 against Pune pair - who later emerged champions on Sunday - but won the hearts of everyone with their lion-hearted show.

Devika Kawale and Nikkita Joseph impressed with their dazzling performance in the girls singles. Devika caused a flutter when she shocked fancied Aarya Deshpande in the third round. Sixteen-year-old Devika was in full flow and shattered the hopes of Aarya to reach last 16.

However, Devika failed to continue her outstanding show as she went down fighting against Thane's Urvi Thakurdesai in the next round.

Nikkita Joseph, 14, was the only city girl to reach last eight. She had her chances but could not capitalize and lost against Riya Kunjir of Pune in three games.

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