Shah and Akshinthala Win Elite Titles at 1st CHA Indian Open

Indian players Pooja Shah and Abihinava Kashyap Akshinthala have been crowned the champions of the first CHA Indian Open.

Shah battled through a three-player Women’s A box league, beating last year’s Gujarat Racketlon Open Championship winner Sushmita Panigrahi and debutant Bhargavi Mitra.

In the Men’s Singles, Akshinthala stunned World No.10 Duncan Stahl and former World No.16 Piers Boden on his way to the title.

Men’s A: Akshinthala Emerges as Racketlon Star

10 racketlon matches, 10 racketlon wins. It’s been a remarkable start to his racketlon career for Abhinava Kashyap Akshinthala. Winning the World D Singles Championship in November was an incredible achievement but his success in India might just be even better.

That is largely down to the quality of his opponents. In Udaipur, Akshinthala caught everyone’s attention as he took out World No.10 Duncan Stahl in the opening round. In the semi-finals, he ended the hopes of another Brit. This time it was CHA Thailand Open champion Piers Boden who was defeated.

The pair produced a high-quality match throughout. Boden led by five after the table tennis but a 21-10 badminton win followed by a 21-19 squash win swung the match in Akshinthala’s favour. Although Boden led in the tennis, he couldn’t complete the comeback, Akshinthala reaching the 14 he needed in a 14-18 tennis set.

Fittingly, it was an all-Indian elite final at the first CHA Indian Open. Sidharth Nandal, who reached the final one week ago in Thailand, once again advanced to the final. Once again though, he was slightly overpowered in the final.

21-9 and 21-6 table tennis and squash scores were the catalysts for Akshinthala’s victory. Nandal battled back with a 21-14 badminton result but it did not matter. Akshinthala needed just two in tennis which he comfortably achieved. Abhinava Kashyap Akshinthala is crowned the first Men’s Elite champion at the CHA Indian Open. It’s hugely exciting to see where Akshinthala will pop up next on the FIR World Tour and Challengers. Wherever it is, his opponents should be very worried.

Sidharth Nandal (R) reached the final of both tournaments on the Asian Challenger Swing but came up just short in both.

Piers Boden took bronze in India, after beating Amarendu Srivastava in the third-place play-off.

Women’s A: Shah Edges Out Panigrahi to Lift Title

The Women’s A competition was a battle between three Indian women for the title; Pooja Shah, Sushmita Panigrahi and Bhargavi Mitra. With the first two women both beating debutant Mitra to start their tournament, that left them facing off for the title.

Panigrahi, who won the 1st Gujarat Racketlon Open Championship last year, made the faster start, snatching the table tennis 21-16. Shah battled back in a hard-fought badminton set though, winning 21-17. Shah looked in real trouble after the squash though, with Panigrahi winning 21-12 to lead by 10 heading into tennis.

Knowing she needed 11 in tennis, Panigrahi certainly had a real advantage. Shah produced a superb tennis set though, keeping the errors to a minimum. In the end, Shah triumphed with a 21-8 tennis victory, winning the match by three points to be crowned the first CHA Indian Open champion. Pnaigrahi finished second with Mitra in third.

Pooja Shah wins the CHA Indian Open Women’s Elite title (Image: Duncan Stahl)

The full results from the CHA Indian Open are available here.

The report from the rest of the CHA Indian Open categories will be coming shortly.

Day one’s tournament report is available here.

The full 2020 FIR World Tour and Challengers are available here, with every tournament open to any player from around the world.

Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer

Image Credit / Frank Kleiber

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