Dubai International Challenge: Ashmita Chaliha wins title on debut; Subhankar Dey loses final
India’s rising women’s singles shuttler Ashmita Chaliha capped a brilliant week by winning the Dubai International Challenge title on her debut on the international circuit. The 19-year-old Guwahati girl needed 33 minutes to seal a 21-19, 21-15 win over the sixth seed and World No. 77 Jeon Jui of Korea.
Having played no BWF tournament before this, Chaliha does not have any world ranking at present.
Previously the only senior-level international tournament that Chaliha had been a part of was the Asian Games, where she was in the mixed team squad. Chaliha, who had been plying her trade only in juniors for the last three years, made the transition to the senior circuit only this year.
However, her exposure remained limited to only the domestic events, where she started excelling pretty soon. In June, she conquered the Hyderabad senior ranking badminton tournament, that earned her the right to a place in India’s Asian Games team.
In Dubai last week, Chaliha worked her way to the title from the qualifying rounds. Although she received a walkover from the top-seeded Beatriz Corrales in the semi-finals, she did not drop a game in the five matches she played.
In men’s singles, the second-seeded Subhankar Dey could not replicate Chaliha’s feat as he went down 10-21, 15-21 to the top seed and World No. 63 Vladimir Malkov.
Dey was looking to win his second consecutive title after reigning supreme at the SaarLorLux Open, a Super 100 tournament, at the beginning of this month. The 25-year-old was on an 11-match winning streak coming into the final of the Dubai International Challenge. All week he did not concede a game until being halted by Malkov in the summit clash.
India’s Tarun Kona too was gunning to win the men’s doubles title. But the sixth-seeded pair of Kona and Malaysia’s Khim Wah Lim was beaten 16-21, 9-21 by Koreans Kim Sang Soo and Yoo Yeon Seong.