Arundhati Pantawane clinches Bahrain International Challenge title
There was little that Arundhati Pantawane could do wrong in the UAE Exchange Bahrain International Challenge 2012 badminton tournament, being played at the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam’s Diamond Jubilee Hall in Segaya, Manama.
The rich vein of form she was in throughout the tournament was on display as she had to pull out all stops to overcome stiff resistance from fellow Indian Tanvi Lad 20-22, 21-12, 21-19 to win the women’s singles crown. Arundhati was pushed to the wall in the opening game.
The 147th ranked Indian, who had shocked top seed and world number 48 Yegit Neslihan of Thailand 21-17, 21-17 in the semifinals, had a real battle on her hands as she lost it narrowly at 20-22. With one game in her bag, Tanvi had everything going for her to go for the kill.
But the 23-year-old Arundhati, who showed that she thrives in such tight situations, assumed control in the second game, giving Tanvi little opportunity to mount a fightback and pocketed it at 21-12.
The decider was an intriguing tussle with no quarter asked and no quarter given. Arundhati, who reached a career-high ranking of 78 last September, played the crucial points better to close out the decider at 21-19.
There was more joy for the Indian camp as the pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas clinched the men’s doubles title. The Rupesh-Sanave pair, the top seeds in the tournament and ranked 27th in the world, outduelled K Nandagopal and Jishnu Sanyal 21-18, 19-21, 21-18 in an all-Indian final.