Tarun Kona and Alwin Francis win Uganda International Series title
What’s the story?
There were Indian winners on the BWF circuit last week as the men’s doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Alwin Francis emerged victorious at the 2017 Uganda International Series in Kampala on Sunday. The duo, who was top-seeded, put up a convincing performance to beat the second-seeded combine of Aatish Lubah and Georges Julien Paul of Mauritius, 21-8, 21-14. The summit clash lasted just 35 minutes.
This is the first title of the season for Kona and Francis.
In case you didn’t know...
Kona and Francis tasted success soon after teaming up at the end of the 2015 season. Last year, they triumphed at three International Series events – in Guatemala, Peru and Botswana – with the latter coming in December.
Their exploits on the circuit also pushed them up to as high as No. 51 in the latest BWF rankings, making them the No. 2 Indian men’s doubles pair after the 23rd ranked Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy.
The heart of the matter
At the Uganda International, the pair was in top form and dropped a game only once, in the semi-finals where they overcame a tough challenge from the third-seeded Jordanian combine of Bahaedeen Ahmad Alshannik and Mohd Naser Mansour Nayef, 21-11, 21-23, 21-13.
Their performances in the first couple of rounds were absolutely flawless. In their opener, they conceded just seven points to thrash the local team of Benjamin Jjuuko and Raymond Kasita, 21-4, 21-3.
In the next round, they beat another local pair of Nicholas Kayongo and Joshua Muguluma, 21-7, 21-8.
They were the only Indians competing at this tournament.
Kona and Francis were originally on the entry list for the German Grand Prix Gold that is starting on Tuesday. However, they have opted out in favour of four weeks of solid training at home.
India’s doubles teams have been steadily improving in the past few months. It is evident from the fact that India now has four all-Indian men’s doubles pairs in the top 60. Kona and Francis’s win is another sign that doubles is heading in the right direction. Here’s hoping that the pair can build on this in the future.