In the last edition held at Shillong, the hosts not only won the gold in team and individual events of all the four sections, Cadet Boys, Junior Boys, Cadet Girls and Junior Girls, but also claimed four silvers in the singles events to make it a India-centric event.
Nevertheless, the championships provide the gateway to the Junior Asian Championships, a big platform for the teen paddlers.
Indian paddlers have been consistently walking into the Asian Juniors as the top team from the region, leaving the second position to other five teams. But where one expects an intense rivalry, limited to only Indians, is in the singles events.
For the likes of Abhishek Yadav and Utkarsh, the winners of Junior boys and Cadet boys singles crowns, along with Sudhanshu Grover, Birdie Boro and Lalrin Puia this will be the second appearance in succession while Rohit Rajsekhar and Anirban Ghosh are the new faces.
Similarly, Suthirtha Mukherjee, who has grown in stature, and Reeth Rishya SAF championships are not new. But for the likes of Manika Batra, who was pulled out last year to compete in the senior section, Ayhika Mukerjee, R Harshavardhani, Sagarika Mukherjee and up-and-coming Sreeja Akula, the meet provides a bigger platform.


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