Maharashtra’s Akshaksha Nitture won the girls’ tennis singles title by defeating Sukhita Maroori (16) of Karnataka 6-7 7-6 6-4 at the Khelo India Youth Games here on Saturday. A 19-year-old woman is waiting for a reward with a scholarship from the organizers for her efforts in the fiery sun.
The financial aid helps Mumbai-based Nittur travel abroad for ITF tournaments — he is ranked 15th in the National Senior Rankings — which helps him improve his WTA rankings. “I have had less money over the past few years. My father was a teacher and I could not afford my travel, food and other necessities. My coaches and I were looking for sponsors but were unsuccessful.
“Winning gold here gives me hope of winning a scholarship. I have two back-to-back ITF tournaments in Gurugram, ”said Nittur, who trains at ASA Academy in Mumbai. He hit the headlines after winning singles and doubles at the National Under-18 Clay Court Championships in Chennai last year.
“That double title win was a major Philippe aspirant. She was big on the U-18 circuit. She has done great in Maharashtra. Only financial problems are constrained. She is unable to travel to ITF tournaments in India and abroad. Her coach Shekhar Tomphe asked how her WTA ranking would improve.
Her WTA ranking is a low 1155. “If she plays the remaining half of the ITF tournaments this year, she should be under 500 by the end of the year,” said Tompe.
Before she was born, Nittoor decided to become a tennis player, her father Dilip, a former tennis player. A computer science teacher and part-time tennis coach, Dilip is ready to sell his house to play his daughter.
“Her father was very enthusiastic about the game. She was seven years old when she was inducted into our academy,” Tampoe said, hoping that some corporate house would come to protect the “immensely talented child.”
Greater than Haryana
Maharashtra tops the medal list with 37 gold, slightly ahead of Haryana (36).
Maharashtra swimmer Apeksha Fernandes won the new medal in the 200m girls medal with a time of 2: 25.18 seconds, but Karnataka continued to dominate the pool, with four of the six competitions on Saturday: Anakarsh Patil (boys’ 200m backstroke), Ridhakrakadraksh (200m backstroke) Boys 800m freestyle) and boys 4x100m medley team.