"Come Flaunt Your Skills" was the tagline on the Vibha Khelmela'07 flyers. Children and adults of all ages showed up in large numbers at Global Mall in Norcross to participate in the Vibha Khelmela - a "Ping Pong Panorama" along with chess and carom competitions that continued for two days over the weekend of February 3rd and 4th. This year's Khelmela, sponsored by Delta Information Systems, saw a significant increase in corporate sponsorships and personal donations for the cause of Vibha. Also, other sports organizations like the Junior Atlanta Table Tennis Association (JATTA) and Gwinnett Table Tennis Association (GTTA) teamed up with Vibha to make the tournament an even bigger success.
The organizers emphasized on publicity for table tennis believing in its potential to draw a large crowd. They were right - the number of participants in table tennis (60) was the highest of all the games. The men's tournament was organized on a league basis, and the top two from each group qualified for the next round. Sachin Patil and Akshay Hattangadi played the scintillating table tennis finals where Sachin prevailed, defeating Akshay in four sets. In the women's singles category, Ms. Moji Kuye became the champion, defeating Ms. Sunanda Paladugu in straight sets. In men's doubles, about 20 teams participated. In the finals, Sanjay and Ram prevailed against Tufan and Shak Shaeed in an exciting match. In the kid's category, Sameera Omar defeated her brother Aadil Omar.
Carom has traditionally been more popular among adults and that did not change this year either. The winner of carom singles men was Rehan Khan and in the women's singles category Kumudha Rangachari was declared the winner. In men's doubles Rao Vellanki and Krishna Reddy were the champions.
Chess is more popular among kids and a total of 34 kids participated in the K-3, K-6, K-12 categories. The tournament was monitored by famous coach Steve Schneider and all rounds were played using the Swiss format. Twelve adults competed in the open category, where Sanjeev Dambhal defended his title from last year and beat Rafiq in a marathon final round match. The K-12 category was closely contested and Abhinav Reddy and Ananth Punyala were declared joint winners after they drew their match. The K-6 winner was Tarun Daniel. Rohan Bagga won the K-3 category and runner up was Amogh Dambhal and may be in the future he might win the open category tournament like his father.
At the end of the competition, the prizes for table tennis and carom winners and runner ups were distributed by the chief guest Mr. Ralph Presley, the president of JATTA. Chess prizes were awarded by coach Steve Schneider, who has organized the tournament for Vibha for the past three years and carom prizes were distributed by Srinivas Lavu, chairman of Delta Information Systems.
Sujan Bhattacharya, the lead for the KhelMela event said, "It is a sense of fulfillment, at least giving back my two pennies to the roots where I came from. Also, meeting other volunteers, sponsors, donors, participants and supporters of Vibha provided lot of fun and excitement that I have had by organizing KhelMela this year. I really would like to see KhelMela become a popular sporting event in Atlanta."
All proceeds of the KhelMela will be donated to child development projects in India. The complete lists of more than 40 projects funded in India by Vibha are available at www.vibha.org.
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