Justifying his top billing in the Smt. Krishna Khaitan Memorial All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament, Mithun M of Air India stormed into the boys’ singles.
U-19 finals with a 21-15, 21-19 win over 13th seed Jaswanth D of Andhra Pradesh on the penultimate day of the event being played at Panjab University courts.
India’s emerging badminton stars will be seen in action in the finals on Sunday at the tournament organised by the Express Shuttle Club. The likes of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, P Kashyap and K Srikant have participated in the tournament when they were juniors. The tournament has been conducted without a break for 25 years. It moved from Chennai to Chandigarh in 2012. This year has seen record entries with over 1,000 juniors participating. Sanjiv Sachdeva, former chief Indian junior badminton coach for 12 years — until he retired in 2012 — has been the moving force behind the tournament. The closing and prize distribution ceremony of the tournament will be held on Sunday in the presence of the Governor of Punjab V P Singh Badnore.
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On Saturday, Mithun, the Air India player, ended the challenge of Jaswanth in a match lasting 21 minutes. Mithun will now face team-mate Kanishq M of Air India, who booked his place in the final with a resounding 21-9, 21-14 win over Kaustubh Rawal of Uttarakhand. Kanishq showed his dominance in the match, which lasted 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, Aakarshi Kashyap of Chhattisgarh stamped her authority in both the girls’ U-17 and U-19 singles semifinals with wins over her respective opponents.
The Raipur-based shuttler, who is the top seed in the U-17 category, edged past third seed Purva Bare of Maharashtra in the semifinals with a 21-9, 21-11 win. Kashyap will now face fourth seed Unnati Bisht of Uttarakhand in the final, who had to fight hard to register a 21-14, 6-21, 21-19 win over seventh seed Malvika Bansod of Maharashtra.
Competing in the girls’ U-19 final one hour later, Kashyap ended the challenge of fourth seed Riya Mookerjee with a 21-17, 21-13 win. In the other semifinal encounter in the U-19 category, top seed Shikha Gautam of Karnataka continued her fine form in the tournament with a 21-14, 21-13 win over Anura Prabhudesai of Airports Authority of India in a match lasting 35 minutes.
In the boys’ singles U-17 category, fifth seed Aman Farogh Sanjay of Maharashtra had to toil hard for a 21-16, 13-21, 21-15 win over Jaswanth D of Andhra Pradesh in a match lasting 38 minutes. In the other semifinal encounter, Rohan Gurbani of Maharashtra faced tough resistance from Pavan Krishna Thokala of Andhra Pradesh before winning 22-20, 17-21, 21-18.
It was a good day for the duo of Aman Raikwar and Yash Raikwar of Madhya Pradesh in the boys’ doubles U-17 category as they beat Mayur Chowhan and Amit Rathore of Madhya Pradesh with a 21-10, 21-12 win.
In the other semifinal, second seed Qadeer Moinuddin Mohammed and Vishnuvardhan Goud of Telangana edged past Sai Rohit of Telangana and Akash Chandran of Andhra Pradesh with a 21-13, 13-21, 23-21 win. In the girls’ doubles U-17 category, top seed Ashwini Bhat and Mithula of Karnataka rallied into the final with a 21-10, 21-12 win over Srishti Jupudi and Preeti K of Telangana. They will face Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker of Maharashtra in the final, who defeated Unnati Bisht of Uttarakhand and Aakarshi Kashyap of Chhattisgarh in the semifinals.