Mumbai: Ayaz Shaikh of Army Yachting Node won his first National Match Racing title by beating Asian Games silver medallist Atool Sinha 3-2 in a fiercely fought final in Mumbai. He sailed extremely well to come back from 2 matches down to win the title.
In the deciding match of the finals Ayaz’s main boom block broke during prestart. Like a real sportsman, Atool Sinha kept clear of Ayaz while he was fixing the damage and showed true sporting spirit. Ayaz’s crew quickly tied the block using a rope and managed to start the race just after Sinha.
“It was a great event for us basically from start to finish,” said a delighted Ayaz after the final match. “I was able to do what I was hoping to do: remain clear from collisions and contacts, start well and dominate the opponent on straight line speed and drills. This is a great win for us, clearly.”
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Ayaz thrashed 11 times National Match Racing Champion R Mahesh 2-1 in the semi finals. He ended Mahesh’s seemingly unstoppable streak of 11 national titles in a row.
Atool Sinha created the biggest upset of the championship by beating Nitin Mongia in the semi finals. After winning the round of six, Nitin chose to race against Sinha in the semi finals. Nitin won the first match while Sinha pocketed the second.
The decider between them was as keenly contested as the first two matches. Nitin lead at the start but a tacking match landed Sinha close to Nitin. Sinha gave him a penalty on a windward –leeward breach. Now Sinha had control and was ahead of Nitin. Trailing with a penalty, Nitin tried his level best to neutralize his outstanding penalty just before the finish but was awarded a second immediate penalty. With a cool head, Sinha led his team to a 2-1 victory and entered into the finals.
“We spent the last 6 months training religiously for 4 days a week. Sometimes we trained 5 days a week and we are happy our hard work is paying off,” said Sinha.
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In the petit finals Nitin Mongia beat R Mahesh 2-0 to win the bronze.
The problem for Mahesh and for almost everyone else too, is that Ayaz is like a killer shark. The sheer speed and aggression of the world No.80 is enough to crush almost everything in his path. Other match racers – even as brilliant as Mahesh – cannot compare to his steering style. There are times when frustration mounts or the pressure becomes too much – and then Ayaz goes for the kill.
Top 6 results:
1st – Ayaz Shaikh, Sandip Jain, Nijeesh Bhaskar, SR Rout, Santosh PV
2nd – Atool Sinha, Rahul Rai, Imo Lemnok, Samal Pradhan, Ashok Kumar
3rd – Nitin Mongia, Balraj Yadav, Ninad Mayekar, Nadar Murugan
4th – R Mahesh, Rajesh Dhulaji, Shekhar Yadav, VB Verma, Vishnu
5th – Prasad Shelar, Suraj Singh, Pankaj Panchal, Amey Jadhav, Pranav Pradhan
6th – Pushparajan Muttu, Chandra Shekhar, Narendra Singh, Satteppa K, Nithin MK