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Manikandan bags best score as Tamil Nadu dominate opening day of Indian Open of Surfing

Mangalore, May 27 (IANS) Chennai’s Groms (U16) surfer, Kishore Kumar, stunned everyone with his performance under testing conditions as he made his way into the semifinals of the 3rd edition of the Indian Open of Surfing on Friday with the highest score of 14.50 of the day.

The other surfers who got high scores from the judges in what is essentially the national championships of surfing were Manikandan D (12.6), Ramesh Budhial (12.33), Surya P (11.9), Sathish Saravanan (11.9) and Ajeesh Ali (11.66).

The first day’s rounds saw Tamil Nadu surfers dominate the proceedings in both the men’s open and groms (U16) categories. A total of 16 surfers from the men’s open surf category will battle it out in the quarterfinals on Saturday morning to book a slot in the semifinals that are scheduled to be held later in the day.

The quarterfinalists in the men’s open category are Manikandan D, Raghul P, Surya P, Srikanth D, Harish M, Ruban V, Vignesh V, Sathish Saravanan, Ajeesh Ali, Sivaraj Babu, Manikandan M, Manivannan T, Nithishvarun T, Ramesh Budhial, Sanjaikumar S and Santhosan S.

Manikandan, who received the highest score of 12.6 on Friday from the judges in the men’s open surf category, said, “The conditions were challenging and competition was equally challenging. The field for tomorrow’s quarterfinal is very strong and anyone can make their way into the semifinals. My only objective would be to surf my natural style and make my way into the semifinals.”

Ramesh Budhial, Karnataka’s top performer and only hope in the men’s open category, said, “I would like to thank the Surfing Federation of India for hosting the Indian Open of Surfing in Mangalore. The waves were testing today and the competition was tough, but I am happy that I could make my way through to the quarterfinals. Now my aim is to give my best in the quarterfinals to find a space in the semifinals tomorrow.”

The Groms (U16) category saw a clean sweep by Tamil Nadu surfers as seven of the eight semifinalists came from the state. Local lad Likhit S from Mangalore is the only semifinalist in the category to keep Karnataka’s hopes alive. The other seven semifinalists are Kishore Kumar, Jeevan S, Logesh S, Naveenkumar R, Jeevanathan I, Tayin Arun and Ranjith Kumar.

Speaking after booking his semifinal slot and Surfing Federation of India’s future talent programme scholar Kishore Kumar, said, “I wasn’t surfing at my best today, as the waves are different than what I am used to back home in Chennai. However, I am happy that I could do well and find my space in the semifinals. I hope tomorrow when I take on the waves, I am much more comfortable and can give in better performance and find a space in the finals (to be held) day-after.”

The Indian Open of Surfing is being hosted by the Mantra Surf Club at the Panambur Beach in Mangalore from May 27-29.

–IANS

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