The 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Benemax-Virgo North American Open, the first ever in the ITTF World Tour tournaments saw its final match on December 7th at Markham, Canada, where Indian youngster Manav Vikash Thakkar has secured a top podium finish, thrashing Martin Bentancor of Argentina, and has won gold medal in the men’s under 21 category. He is the first peddler ever to win gold at the event, and also the first Indian to gain the achievement since the event’s inauguration back in 2017.
The 19 year old dominated his opponent Martin with three back to back games (11-3, 11-5, 11-6) to win the final match.
Manav was the no. 2 seed in the tournament, and his comfortable victory over the no. 14 seeding Argentine is the furthest he has ever reached in any ITTF World Tour tournaments. The teenager previously managed to reach the pre quarter finals.
The teenager is now the fourth Indian to win Gold at an ITTF World Tour tournament. Soumyajit Ghosh was the first to clinch gold in 2011 in Chile, followed by Harmeet Desai, who won the title in Brazil, and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who emerged victorious in Egypt, both in 2012.
The young peddler defeated Martin’s compatriots Horacio Cifuentes in the quarter final, the match which too ended in three games (11-5, 11-9, 11-5). In the semi final, he was the winner versus Lorenzo Santiago, the game that continued upto four games. (11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6).
The starlet also emerged victorious at the in the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit held in indore, where he won the Boys’ Singles event title. He successfully defended the title in the following year at in New Delhi and Slovenia.
In 2018, he seeded no. 1 in the under 18 boys’ world rankings, and won two golds the at the 2018 Portugal Junior and Cadet Open, in both the Junior Boys’ Singles and Junior Boys’ Doubles, partnering up with his compatriot Manush Utpalbhai Shah in the latter.
Manav, who hails from the city or Surat, was selected to represent India at the 2018 Asian Games held in Indonesia. A member of the men’s team, Manav won bronze medal in the category, along with teammates Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Achanta Sharath Kamal, Anthony Amalraj and Harmeet Desai.