Mumbai:After the Match Racing Nationals earlier this month, it had gotten to the point where anybody wouldn’t be sure if anyone would ever defeat Ayaz Shaikh and his strong team in Match Racing, where he has beaten everyone in the past two years.
Well, Atool Sinha finally beat the reigning National Match Racing Champion Ayaz, in the INWTC Match Cup II at Mumbai and that too in the very same month.
On Friday afternoon, with the pre-monsoon wind blowing along with huge swells, Sinha withstood Ayaz’s bursts. Sinha was mentally tougher than in their past matches.
While Sinha had a few moments in the round robin that resembled “chokes” in other matches. He kept it together, didn’t go into panic overdrive and was able to hang on.
To Sinha, Ayaz must seem like a ghost that never seems to stop coming back and haunting him. I’d argue that Ayaz usually sails at his highest levels vs. the Naval Commander. Often, when Ayaz sails better, Sinha responds by upping his game even higher.
Sinha took control and kept pushing Ayaz out of the pre start box / lay-lines for almost the entire pre start. That strategy — which is similar to what Nitin has employed vs. Mahesh — seemed to give Sinha a better chance to remain aggressive and in control to gain an edge during pre starts.
After the round robin matches, Sinha was tied with Ayaz and Chandrashekhar. All three teams had 2 wins. The tie was broken in the favour of Sinha, while Ayaz and Chandrashekhar were placed second and third respectively.
What made this win even more special for Sinha is the fact that his team was formed just 15 minutes before teams headed on water. His team included Sanjeev Chauhan (trimmer), Ashok Kumar, Gaurav Randhawa, and Chinaya. This was the first time ever they sailed together as a team. While Ayaz was racing with his regular Match Racing team with Sandip Jain on the Jib and Santosh PV, Nijeesh Bhaskar and SR Rout on the deck.
By winning the INWTC Match Cup II, Sinha denied Ayaz a hat trick of titles in one months time.
Let’s hope Sinha finds a way to repeat this INWTC Match Cups’ performance at either the Monsoon Regatta this year or the next YAI Trials so he can prove to everyone that he has it in him to win titles at any major event.