Guru Sai Dutt takes National games gold

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Ranchi, Feb 21 (PTI) Promising youngster ArundhatiPantawante and rising star R M V Guru Sai Dutt clinched thesingles titles as badminton competition concluded at the 34thNational Games here today.

The Nagpur girl, who was briefly ranked No 1 in Indiaafter she surprised everyone with a runner-up finish in theNationals, came back from behind to oust Kerala''s P C Thulasifor the title.

In the men''s singles summit clash, Guru Sai of AndhraPradesh also made a spectacular return after going down in thefirst set to defeat Karnataka''s Aditya Prakash.

Having ousted top seed and statemate Sayali Gokhale inthe semifinals yesterday, the 21-year-old continued her finerun as she pipped Thulasi 14-21, 21-17, 21-15 in closeencounter.

"I''m really happy with the performance. I want to do wellat the national levels and keep playing more," she toldreporters.

Her father an athletics coach and mother a formerathlete, Arundhati''s first choice was 100m and 200m but soonshe became addicted to the shuttle sport as she went on tojoin the Gopichand Academy, where she has been training forthe last four years.

She came to prominence after making the final of theNationals and in the Estonian Open that catapulted her to theNo 1 spot in the women''s singles rankings in India.

It may be noted that top Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal hasstopped playing domestic badminton, while Aditi Mutatkar alsodid not play enough tournaments.

Having entered the National Badminton Championship in asa qualifier earlier this year, Arundhati in her road to thefinal ousted defending national champion Trupti Murgundebefore Aditi Mutatkar stopped her dream run.

She followed this up by winning the silver medal in theEstonian Open International Badminton tournament where alsoshe started as a qualifier.

"My goal in 2011 is to get good international ranking bythe year end," the rising star of badminton said.

In the men''s final, Guru Sai recovered quickly afterlosing the first set against an error-prone Aditya Prakash towin with 16-21, 21-10, 21-18.

His knowledge of Aditya''s game helped him, said Guru Sai.

"I know his play well. It was about keeping the lineright and I was confident that I will wrap it up. Soon my gamestarted working as I got the smashes right," Guru Sai said.

The Andhra duo of Jyotshna Polavarapu and NelakurthiSikkireddy clinched the women''s doubles title beatingMaharashtra''s Sampada Sahasrabuddhe and Pradnya 21-16, 21-18.

Alwin Francis and Arun Vishnu Sivaraj Anrevamm of Keralabeat Maharashtra''s Jishanu and Akshay 21-12, 26-24 for themen''s title.

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