PANJIM: A four-player Goa team, guided by Captain Nishad Shevde under the Goa Pickleball Association (GPA) banner, made a debut in the 7th Pickleball National Championship held at the Ahmedabad Pickleball Arena, recently.
In the tournament’s respective categories, Nishad Shevde and Cleon Barretto represented Team Goa in the 19+ men’s singles and doubles, whereas Glen D’Costa and Sanket Nayak, also from Team Goa, competed in the 35+ age group for both singles and doubles.
Goa’s Shevde's impressive 11-0 victory over India’s No. 5 seed, Sonu Kumar, in the quarter-finals, drew immense attention from the audience. Meanwhile, Barreto fought hard but lost 7-11 to India’s No. 8 seed, Avinash Kumar, in the pre-quarters.
Shevde and Barretto, representing Goa, advanced to the men's doubles quarter-finals. In the 35+ men’s category, D’Costa and Nayak progressed to the second round.
“This marked Goa’s debut in the national pickleball event, with promising performances from the 35+ category players in their first tournament. GPA stated that they were pleased with the team's performance and aims to expand the sport across age groups in Goa, fostering more representation at state-level competitions. “With over 15 categories and almost 300 participants, the tournament showcased pickleball's rapid growth,” the GPA officials stated.
Originally invented in 1965 in the USA, pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, table tennis and badminton. It has been growing in popularity across the country over the last 15 years.
The Pickleball Nationals, which was organised by the All-India Pickleball Association (AIPA) in association with Pickleball Association of Gujarat saw the best players in India from various States, which including ranked players, compete in the championship.