Vaishnavi Jakka Reddy and Lakshya Sen, ranked fourth and 10th in the world junior badminton rankings, will lead India’s charge at the Badminton Asia Junior Championships in Jakarta this year. The tournament will have a mixed-team competition from July 14-17, followed by the individual championship from July 18-22.
Reddy and Sen, currently 52nd and 72nd in the senior world rankings, were part of a depleted Indian squad for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals earlier this month. Neither the Indian men’s team nor the women’s team managed to reach the quarter-finals of the competition, with Reddy and Sen winning only one of their three group matches.
However, the Badminton Association of India has backed the two 16-year-olds for the Asian junior championships. The rest of the Indian squad was picked on the basis of performances at the All India Junior Ranking Tournament in Tirupur last week, where Aakarshi Kashyap and Priyanshu Rajawat, both 16 years old, emerged victorious in the singles events.
Apart from Kashyap and Rajawat, all the finalists and semi-finalists from the girls’ and boys’ singles in Tirupur have also found a place in the Indian squad for Jakarta, along with the winners and runners-up from the three doubles events: boys, girls, and mixed.
In girls’ singles, Reddy and Kashyap will be joined by S Kavipriya, Medha Shashidharan, and Dipty Kuity. In boys’ singles, Sen and Rajawat will be flanked by Kiran George, Aman Farogh Sanjay, and Orijit Chaliha.
Manjit Singh Khwairakpam, Dingku Singh Konthoujam, Vishnuvardhan Goud and Sri Krishna Sai Kumar Podile will represent India in the boys’ doubles category, while Simran Singhi, Ritika Thaker, K Preethi and Srishti Jupudi will lead the challenge in the girls’ doubles. Podile and Jupudi will also contest the mixed doubles, along with Tirupur finalists Edwin Joy and Nafeesah Sara Siraj.
“We have selected a bigger pool of players this time to give exposure to more number of players,” said BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania. “BAI going forward will focus on increasing the bench strength and will target to include more number of youth and junior players for international experience and exposure.”
The shuttlers will undergo a rigorous preparatory coaching camp in Bengaluru from June 25 to July 11 under the guidance of chief junior national coach Sanjay Mishra, according to a BAI press release. The squad will leave for Jakarta late on July 11.
India’s best results so far at the junior continental championship have been individual silver medals won by PV Sindhu and Sameer Verma in 2012 and 2011 respectively. India had also won a team bronze medal in 2011, while Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Prajakta Sawant had combined to win a medal of the same colour in mixed doubles category in 2009.