29 March 2017| 6:00 PM: The Annual JNU Tennis Championship came to a close today, after having run three successful days of lawn tennis at the freshly prepared clay court at the Sports Stadium. Due to an influx in the number of participants this year the matches had to be started early and had to be wound up before darkness falls due to lack of lighting facilities.
New nets, new balls and new faces at the tennis court marked this year’s championship. The tournament had both singles and doubles matches for both men and women. This year there were 7 participants for men’s singles and 4 for women’s singles. There were simultaneously 4 teams for men’s doubles and 2 for women’s doubles.
The 7 participants were divided into groups of two, one consisting of four players and the other three based on lottery. The top two players in each group then advanced to the semis. The finals was played between the two winners of the semis. Due to limited number of participants the women participants directly advanced to the semis. The teams for men’s and women’s doubles were based on the choice of the players.
In the women’s category, Utsha defeated Swati, and Olga defeated Gina to Advance to the finals. In the finals, Olga had the better of Utsha. Olga is a final year PhD scholar in CIL, SLL & CS, originally from Russia. She admitted that she got interested in Tennis a few months ago, she also plays volleyball. ‘It was a good experience,’ she said smiling, ‘…in JNU, you don’t get to see this [sports events] much, on average days, its mostly boys on the field…’.
In the men’s singles, Abhijeet, Arib, Anuj and Suresh advanced into the semis. A rigorous knockout stage meant it was a grueling competition with plenty of action and play-offs under the sun, and well nigh into night.
In the semi-finals, Abhijeet defeated Suresh 4-3, while Anuj triumphed over Arib 4-1. In the finals, which involved 2 sets having 6 matches, Abhijeet in a steely performance of grit, skills and endurance overcame Anuj 6-1, 7-5.
Speaking to The Informer, Abhijeet said, ‘Even though it was pretty hot and we are totally exhausted it was nice…Anuj is a good player, had good service and was a good challenge, I won the first set easily which helped me in the second set. He played some very good shots, and was able to break my service…I too managed to do that later on…’. Abhijeet is in the second year of his PhD, in CHS, SSS. He apparently happens to be a seasoned Tennis player, having given up the game for academic pursuits.
In the women’s doubles, Utsha and Olga defeated Swati and Gina. On the other hand, Abhijeet and Zenden struggled against Anuj and Kaustubh and finally gave in to the duo 6-3.
Suresh, who is also the convener of the JNU Tennis Club has been proactive in organizing the tournament. And the due credit goes to the Tennis coach Mr Kuldeep Singh for honing the players and building the spirit and morale among the participants.
Like a few other sports clubs, the Tennis club has had its own share of snags, such as the coach is still appointed on a contractual basis, plenty of bureaucracy which leads to delays in procurement of sports equipment without which one cannot practice, the tennis court though fenced needs some renovation as the pebble has come loose in certain places, prize distribution has still not been conducted for the last 2 years and the most serious of them all, there are no light source in the court, which meant that no matter what the games had to be wrapped up before nightfall.
However, since this year saw plenty of new faces in the tournament, there does appear to be a silver lining. Gina (CSSS/SSS), Swati (SCMM), Olga (CIL/SL), Swasti (SAA) and Nikhil (CHS/SSS) who participated in the tournament are all new to Tennis.
‘Last time I didn’t play, because of research work and other things… so no matter what, I was very enthusiastic and it was a good opportunity…’, confessed Abhijeet.
Indeed, as long as there is enthusiasm among participants to play, learn and excel; who can stop the game, or the people from enjoying it?
The Informer correspondent.
Pictures are by Sunaina Dular.