PESHAWAR-Promising Perniya Khan of Wapda setup final showdown against Aisha Sharjeel in the final after upsetting three-time national champion Raheela Kashif in the Youth Empowerment National Masters Cup Table Tennis semifinal played here at Olympian Lala Rafique Sports Arena on Saturday. 

Director General Army Sports Control Board and former international hockey player Brig Zaheer Akhtar was the chief guest on this occasion, who witnessed the two semifinals. KPBA SVP Kifayat Ullah Orakzai, DSO Peshawar Tehseen Ullah Khan, Youth Ambassador of US Embassy Islamabad Abar Ali, players and spectators were also present there. 

Peshawar proved perfect for promising Perniya, who played her second final after recording victory last month in the U-16 National Junior Championship organized jointly by Directorate of Sports KP and KP Table Tennis Association. Perniya upset her veteran rival Raheela in the thrilling semifinal lasted for one hour and 10 minutes. The score was 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11 and 13-11 (4-1). 

Perniya won the first game 13-11 but failed to click in the second game that was won by her strong rival Raheela 11-9. When the game tally was locked 1-1, Perniya staged a strong comeback with her elegant backhand forehand smashes and excellent spin serve and won next three games to reach the grand final against Aisha Sharjeel, who defeated Mehmooda Haider 4-1 in the second semifinal with a score of 13-11, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 13-11 and 11-7. 

Earlier in the quarterfinals, Perniya Khan stunned seven times champion Shabnam Bilal 4-1. The score was 11-13, 11-13, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7 and 14-12. In another quarterfinals, Aisha Sharjeel outpaced Sanam Yaseem 4-1 as the score was 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9 and 13-11 while Raheela Kashif outsmarted Ausha Fahim 4-1 and Mehmooda Haider routed Sana Muzafar 4-1. 

In the men’s singles, Shah Khan of Wapda and current national champion Faizan Zahoor of Pakistan Army booked berths in the final. Top seed Shah Khan, hailing from Swat, defeated Abdur Rahim in a thrilling match 4-3, as the score was 11-9, 5-11, 9-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-7, and 11-9 to set a final clash against Faizan Zahoor, who got a walk over against Asim Qurashi, who got injured and left the semifinal clash. 

Earlier in the men’s singles quarterfinals, Shah Khan beat Hafeezur Rehman of Wapda 4-1, Asim Qurashi upset Fahad Khawjah 4-2, Faizan Zahoor recorded victory against Haseeb Khan 4-2 and Abdur Rahim beat Abdullah Nazir 4-1. The finals of male and female singles categories will be contested today (Sunday) here at the same venue.