The season end of Thunder Thursday was one to remember. The SPF staff, wearing their official jerseys for the first time this season, this time took each other on in one of the most graceful (if played by a professional) and strenuous sports out there – table tennis. There were 26 participants with a wide range of skill levels – from people who have never held a racquet to people whose table tennis experience started in their mother’s wombs.
With the high volume of participants, the format would be doubles and in a bracket system. Out of 13 teams, 10 would play the first round, while 3 lucky teams would be sent straight into the next round. The teams were chosen randomly out of interest of fairness. While no body was clear on what the skill levels of their competitors were, it was difficult to say if there were any favorites from the start, however there were a few teams to watch for including Yasir and Sanjeev, Kalpesh and Wajid (most because of Kalpesh’s substantial experience with table tennis) and Suraj and Tarun. The 3 lucky teams to be promoted directly into the next round were Mridula and Imrann, Rizvi and Chandu and Sanaz and Najeeb.
The first round saw some brilliant performances, particularly from Yasir and Sanjeev who blew Zorro and Burhan out the park with a 21-9 victory. Suraj and Tarun, who were touted as one of the favorites, put in a resilient performance, however it wasn’t enough as Ranjeet and Abhik bested them 21-16. This of course came as a big disappointment to Suraj as it put an end to his Thunder Thursday winning streak. Kalpesh and Wajid also showed their mettle by convincingly overcoming Elbek and Ali Aamir with a score of 21-12, particularly with Kalpesh showing his years of experience with the sport. Mohsin and Mudassar’s game against Rohal and Ehtisham was one of the most exciting in the first round as the score ended 21-18 respectively. Abul and Adel also managed to overcome Francis and Inayat with the score of 21-11.
The next round certainly brought on some surprises. Mridula and Imrann played a very closely contested match against Abul and Adel with the former just overcoming them with a score of 21-18. Rizvi and Chandu gave absolutely no competition to Mohsin and Mudassar who dismantled them 21-5. Perhaps the most anticipated match up in the second round saw Ranjeet and Abhik take on Kalpesh and Wajid. While it was balanced for the first half of the game, Kalpesh’s experience yet again shone as he lifted his team convincingly in the second half to snatch a 21-12 victory. Yasir and Sanjeev, as expected, filled their bellies as Ramadan was around the corner by devouring Sanaz and Najeeb and winning 21-5.
The first semi-final of the tournament produced the most exciting game of the day. Mridula and Imrann, perhaps the days surprise package, took on Mohsin and Muddasar, who came out from the last round filled with confidence after their landslide victory. The game was very closely contested with the teams matching each other point for point until the score reached 20-20 and therefore a deuce. The advantage swung back and forth a few times until Mridula and Imrann took 3 consecutive points to knock Mohsin and Mudassar off their advantage and to take the game. Truly a match of the ages. The second semi-final also was much anticipated as arguable the two strongest teams went head to head: Kalpesh and Wajid versus Yasir and Sanjeev. There was plenty of skill on show during the game however Yasir and Sanjeev never seemed to lose control as they sealed a 21-16 victory.
Mridula and Imrann, exhausted from the grueling game from the last round, were to face Yasir and Sanjeev in the final. Yasir and Sanjeev once again took a commanding lead early on in the game. Mridula and Imrann showed why they reached the final with a couple of impressive shots however, as in the last round, Yasir and Sanjeev never lost control of the game and cruised to an impressive 21-6 victory.
In the end, it was an event to remember and a perfect one to conclude the Thunder Thursday season. Next season will resume after Ramadan with a sport that has yet to be determined.
SEE YOU NEXT SEASON!