Indian shuttlers’ challenge at the Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2019 (individual events) came to an end following the twin losses for doubles teams at the quarter-finals in Suzhou, China on Friday.
The boys’ doubles pair of Ishaan Bhatnagar and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala and the girls’ doubles combine of Tanisha Crasto and Aditi Bhatt were the only Indians to make it through to the quarter-finals of this prestigious continental event.
However, a day after stunning the fourth seeds in a high-octane thriller, Bhatnagar and Panjala were unable to sustain that momentum and went down 14-21, 19-21 to the unseeded Singapore pair of Jia Hao Howin Wong and Chuan Shen Aaron Yong.
Crasto and Bhatt found the going tough against the second seeds Li Yi Jing and Luo Xu Min. Having been outplayed by the Chinese pair in the first game, the Indians fought back only to fall short 7-21, 16-21 in the end.
The Indian contingent thus finished their campaign without a medal a year after Lakshya Sen was crowned the boys’ singles champion.
In the singles campaign, Malvika Bansod put up a superlative display to knock out the girls’ singles top seed Phittayaporn Chaiwan in the second round in what was the biggest talking point of the Indian contingent’s performance.
Junior world No 14 Maisnam Meiraba, who won the White Night Junior this month, was able to take a game off the two-time world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn before embracing defeat. In the team event, Meiraba notched up two wins out of three matches and guided his team into the quarter-finals where they bowed out to Indonesia.
“Despite the tough opponents, the Indians did not feel intimidated which was a huge positive to take from this tournament,” said Sanjay Mishra, India’s Chief Junior National Coach.
“Malvika’s upset of the top seed and Meiraba’s fighting spirit against the junior world champion show India is on the right path. Ishaan and Vishnu displayed some strong nerves in their big win. With a lot more high-level training, the youngsters will definitely be able to show the stamina needed to excel on the biggest stage,” he said.