Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka rises to World No. 2 in junior BWF rankings; Aakarshi Kashyap 4th
16-year-old Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka rose three spots to a career-high World No. 2 position as the new world junior rankings were released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) this week. India now has two shuttlers within the top 5 of the junior women’s singles rankings after 17-year-old Aakarshi Kashyap jumped five places to reach the No. 4 spot.
The ranking rise comes for Jakka after a year of highly consistent performances on the tour. On the junior circuit, she triumphed thrice, winning titles at U19 Irish Open, Ukraine Junior International and Spanish Junior 2018, each of which awarded her 2000 points. She also got to represent India at the Youth Olympics, where she won two out of her three group matches.
Jakka also made her mark at the senior level on the international circuit, as validated by her runner-up finish at the Iceland International. Apart from that, the youngster also made it to the semi-finals of the Iran Fajr International Challenge and the Brazil International Badminton Cup. Her exploits helped her break into the top 50 of the world rankings, where the current World No. 62 peaked at No. 49.
The teenager, who has shifted her base to Thailand, has been training at the Banthongyord Badminton School in Bangkok for the past few years now. That gave her a priceless opportunity to train with the former World No. 1 and 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon, also a product of the same academy.
Aakarshi Kashyap, another of India’s rising stars, won the India Junior International title last year that gave her 3500 points. Currently placed at 147th, she reached the final of the Bulgarian International and the quarter-finals of the Tata Open India International Challenge on the senior circuit.
Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen, who is currently honing his skills at the Premier Badminton League Season 4, is the No. 2 player in junior men’s singles. Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala, who was a men’s doubles quarter-finalist at the 2018 World Junior Championships, surged a whopping 17 spots to reach a career-best ranking of No. 7 in that section.