Rarotonga (Cook Islands), June 9 (IANS) Paddler Archana Girish Kamath registered a 4-1 (11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8) win over Malaysian Chang Alice Li Sian in the Oceania leg of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games qualiying series here.
Archana, who jumped a few places in this month’s ranking to be at No. 12 in the world, on Friday qualified for the Buenos Aires Games in her last chance after having failed to seal her berth at Rades (Tunisia) and Bangkok (Thailand) despite reaching the semi-finals in the latter.
Archana, who arrived here on Wednesday after a 36-hour journey with long layovers-from Bengaluru to Dubai and Auckland to destination in the Cook Islands, put behind her weariness and concentrated on the job at hand, quickly going for a practice session, with chief coach Massimo Costantini in toe, on the evening soon after landing.
The top-seeded India had a first-round bye but in the second round it was tough against the Philippines’ Jannah Maryam Romeron, who not only went ahead with a 2-0 lead but also posed a lot of problems for Archana.
However, the determined Indian won the crucial third game with a minimal margin and the next on extended points to restore parity.
From there, it was a confident Archana who thumped her rival from the Philippines to enter the semifinals with a 11-13, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7, 11-3.
In the semi-finals, it was an easy affair for the world No. 12 as she beat Iran’s Mahshid Ashtari 11-2, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 and in the final, a cautious Archana dropped just one game before overpowering her Malaysian opponent 4-1 to seal her berth.
“I am really happy for Archana,” said Costantini in an official release. “It was worth the trip to Cook Islands,” the Italian added.
In the men’s singles, Manav Thakkar has already qualified for the Games to be held in October.