Balram, Sara Devi win

Bharatpur, August 21:

Balram Thapa of Armed Police Force (APF) stole the limelight at the 32nd National Badminton Championship with two gold medals and a silver here on Tuesday. Balram won the men’s singles and mixed doubles but lost in the men’s doubles final.

Balram won the singles championship after his opponent Pashupati Paneru fell to the court unconscious for illness yet to be ascertained in the final set. Paneru won the first set 21-16, while Balram levelled the sets with a 21-19 victory. Balram was leading 14-10 before Paneru was taken to hospital.

Balram also combined with Puja Shrestha to claim the mixed doubles title after their opponents Indra Mehata and Neri Thapa pulled out of the final. But teamed up with Mehata, the APF duo lost to the fellow club-mates Pankaj Chand and Bikash Pradhan 19-21, 19-21 in the men’s doubles final.

APF claimed the team championship with eight gold medals out the 12 events in contest. Tribhuvan Army Club finished second with two golds while Bhojpur and Panchthar tied for joint third with one gold each.

Sara Devi Tamang of Tribhuvan Army Club claimed the women’s singles title. Sara Devi beat Sumina Shrestha in straight sets 21-12, 21-15.

Bibek Shrestha of Bhojpur defeated Ratnajit Tamang of his own district 21-18, 10-21, 21-18 to lift the Under-16 boys’ championship. Kishor Rana of APF outplayed fellow club-mate Raju Paneru 21-18, 21-13 to win the Under-19 boys’ title.

Likewise, Neri Thapa, who also happens to be a national cricketer, bagged both the U-16 and U-19 girls’ championships beating her APF teammate Susmita Gurung in both the categories. Neri, who registered an easy 21-9, 21-9 win in the U-16 final, had to come from behind to claim the U-19 title. She won the event 14-21, 22-20, 21-16.

Sumina and Sara Devi claimed the women’s doubles trophy defeating Puja Shrestha and Sujana Shrestha 21-18, 21-13. Basanta Nembang and Kesh Gauchan of Panchthar beat Puspa Tamrakar and Dhirendra Bhari of APF 21-15, 18-21, 23-21 for the veteran’s doubles championship. Member Secretary of the National Sports Council Jeevan Ram Shrestha among others gave away the awards.

The tournament was organised by Chitwan District Badminton Association.