Gayatri Gopichand Pullela had been part of the selection controversy just a few weeks ago when she was picked for the BWF World Junior (u-19) squad without playing a single national ranking tournament in that age group.

The 14-year-old probably proved a point to all those doubters when she upset top seed Purva Barve 23-21 21-18 in 40-minute to clinch the girl’s singles crown in the 26th Krishna Khaitan Memorial badminton tournament in Chandigarh on Sunday.

Incidentally, Gayatri’s mother PVV Laxmi was the first girl’s singles winner of the tournament way back in 1991.

“She had won three tournaments in U-17 and we thought we might give it a try in U-19. I won this tournament at age of 16 during the first edition and she has done it at 14. Back then I was happy as a player. Now I am more happy as my daughter has won. She knew I had won it and she told me she will also win,” an emotional PVV Lakshmi was quoted as saying in Indian Express.

Gayatri had won three u-17 singles titles but had not played any under-19 event before being picked to play singles in the World Junior Championship squad. It had created a storm with the grandmother of Vaishnavi Jakka Reddy had written to the Prime Minister alleging favouritism in selection since she is the daughter of chief national coach Pullela Gopichand.

She reached the pre-quarterfinals of the World Championship and was playing her first u-19 event in India this year.

Later, Thane’s Aman Farogh Sanjay bagged the boy’s u-19 single title beating Abhishek Saini 21-14, 21-18 in a rather lop-sided affair.

Double crown for Ritika and Simran

Ritika Thaker and Simran Singhi with their U-17 and U-19 girls doubles trophies.

It was time for double celebration for Maharashtra combination of Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker as they clinched the u-17 and u-19 doubles crown.

The second seeds first packed off top seeds Sahithi Bandi and Varshini VS 21-14, 21-7 in the u-17 final and then came back to hammer second seeds Shruti Mishra and Samriddhi Singh 21-14 21-15 in the u-19 summit clash.

Later, Ritika Thaker was awarded the Shri Haridas Trophy for best player of tournament (girls), while Iman Sonowal bagged the Iyappa Trophy for the best player of the tournament (boys).

Results (all finals)


Girls singles: Malvika Bansod bt Ritika Thaker 21-7, 21-14

Girls doubles: Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker bt Sahithi Bandi and Varshini VS 21-14, 21-7

Boys singles: Aakash Yadav bt Iman Sonowal 21-16, 12-21, 21-16

Boys doubles: Edwin Joy and Aravind V Suresh bt Navaneeth Bokka and Vishnuvardhan Goud P 22-20, 21-17


Mixed doubles: Sri Krishna Sai Kumar Podile and Srishti Jupudi bt Edwin Joy and Nafeesah Sara Siraj 21-19, 21-15

Girls singles: Gayatri Gopichand Pullela bt Purva Barve 23-21, 21-18

Girls doubles: Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker bt Shruti Mishra and Samriddhi Singh 21-14, 21-15

Boys singles: Aman Farogh Sanjay bt Abhishek Saini 21-14, 21-18

Boys doubles: Vishnuvardhan Goud P and Sri Krishna Sai Kumar Podile bt Sanjai Srivatsa D and Siddarth Elango 18-21, 21-15, 21-13