Indian shuttlers create history at the Badminton Asian Junior Championships
14-year-old Samiya Imad Farooqui was the star of the show in Myanmar.
Young Indian shuttlers created history at the Badminton Asia U17 & U15 Junior Championships 2017 in Yangon, Myanmar by bringing home an unprecedented haul of four medals that included a gold in U-15 women’s singles. Third seeded Samiya Imad Farooqui provided the jewel in the crown by taking the said gold in a fantastic final on Sunday where she came back from a game down to edge Indonesian giant-killer Widjaja Stephani, 15-21, 21-17, 21-19 in 56 minutes.
All the other three medals were bronze. Unseeded Aashi Rawat confirmed her bronze in U-15 women’s singles after bowing out to her compatriot Farooqui 9-21, 18-21 in an all-Indian semi-final on Saturday.
India got a third medal in the U-15 section through the men’s doubles team of Ayush Raj Gupta and Shubham Patel. The duo secured their bronze when they succumbed to a 19-21, 17-21 defeat to fellow unseeded Malaysian combine of Muhammad Fazriq Mohamad Razif and Zhen Yi Ong.
The Indian contingent got its only medal in the U-17 category when the women’s doubles pair of Keyura Mopati and Kavipriya Selvam lost their semi-final match to the Indonesian duo of Kelly Larissa and Shelandry Vyola, 13-21, 19-21.
Second consecutive U-15 medal for Samiya
This is the second consecutive year that Samiya bagged a medal in the U-15 section of this tournament. Last year, she and Gayatri Gopichand had teamed up to pick up the bronze in women’s doubles.
Samiya made a slow start and remained on the backfoot for much of the first game as Widjaja took control of the proceedings. The young Indian then amped up her attack in the second game to put the pressure right back on the Indonesian.
Even though Widjaja levelled matters at 13-13, Farooqui was still able to keep her composure and carve out the game, 21-17.
In the decider, she trailed for the most part until getting a second wind to equalize the score at 16-16. In a tense finish, it remained even till 18-18 following which Farooqui held her nerves to eke out the win.
“I was nervous in the first game but regained confidence after some motivation from my coach and gave my opponent a tough fight,” Samiya said after the match.
“It was a tough match and went down to the wire. But I held on to my nerves and won it. I am very proud to win a gold for my country,” she added.