Mumbai: After yet another wild finish to the Match Racing Nationals, it was the fan-favorite R Mahesh who stole the show and cruised to win the Match Racing National Championship 2013 with seasoned spinnaker trimmer Rajesh Dhulaji, Asian games medalist Shekhar Yadav and Neeraj Sharma.
While Mahesh was clearly the cream of the crop, the battle behind him was as intense as it gets. Ayaz Shaikh, Nitin Mongia and Atool Sinha were all fighting to make it to the top.
Mahesh finished the round robin at the top by winning all races. Nitin lost just one match (against Mahesh) to finish second overall. Ayaz lost 2 matches (against Mahesh and Nitin) to finish third, while Sinha lost 3 matches (against Mahesh, Nitin and Ayaz) to make it to the top 4.
The biggest surprise of the event came when Mahesh chose to race defending champion Ayaz in the semi finals, even as Nitin, who was not sailing with his regular crew members, looked like an easier opponent.
The semi final that went down to a very fiercely fought fifth match brought the ultimate moment of the 2013 Match Racing Nationals – Mahesh had thrashed Ayaz out of the final to declare the war over. There is no doubt that Ayaz grows stronger as the event progresses. Had Mahesh faced Ayaz in the final, he would have had to battle a much stronger and tougher Ayaz.
In semi final 2, Nitin defeated Atool to enter the final.
The finals were smooth sailing for Mahesh as he defeated Nitin 3 -0 to win his 12th National Match Racing title.
In the petit finals, Ayaz defeated Sinha to finish third.
Mahesh’s decision to race against Ayaz – his toughest competitor, in the semi finals proved to be a brilliant one. An instinctive sailor, his edgy moves have proved to be fruitful on several occasions. With 12 National titles, Mahesh is undoubtedly the most successful Indian match racers of all times.
1st – R Mahesh, Rajesh Dhulaji, Shekhar Yadav, Neeraj Sharma
2nd – Nitin Mongia, Brijraj Verna, Chetan Fernandes, Gaurav Randhava
3rd – Ayaz Shaikh, Sandeep Jain, Nijeesh Bhaskar, Santhosh PV
4th – Atool Sinha, Rahul Rai, Imo Lemnok, crew 4
5th – Pushparajan Muttu, Nerendra Singh, NS Johal, crew 4
6th – Gulshan Chunekar, Pankaj Panchal, PM Rao, crew 4
7th – Manu Jayram and team
8th – Pallavi Niak Mittal, Tulsi Chauhan, Hema Mehta, Sanchita Gokhale