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Chennai, Samiya, Maisnam clinch junior badminton titles

Telanganas No. 5 seed Samiya Imad Farooqui continued her meteoric rise as she clinched the U-19 girls singles title at the All-India Junior Ranking badminton tournament here on Sunday.

The Asia U-15 champion, hailed as the new prodigy from the Pullela Gopichand Academy, comprehensively beat Delhi’s No. 16 seed Aashi Rawat in the final to make up for her friend and top seed P. Gayatri Gopichand’s shock exit in the semifinal.

The U-19 boys singles final too proved to be one-sided with Manipur’s Maisnam Meiraba outplaying Aakash Yadav of Delhi before the latter retired hurt. The No. 2 seed Meiraba was leading 21-9, 12-7 when Yadav surrendered to his injury.

Manipur had the distinction of claiming another title as Dingku Sing Konthoujam paired with Maharashtra’s Ritika Thaker to clinch the mixed doubles crown, trouncing Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto 21-18, 21-12 in the final. Tanisha later teamed up with Aditi Bhatt to take the girls doubles title.

Dingku, however, couldn’t cast the same magic in the boys doubles final with Manjit Singh Khwairakpam, losing to Ishaan Bhatnagar and Vishnuvardhan Goud P.

Samiya was in her elements in the girls singles final, leapfrogging to a 16-12 lead. Aashi fought back to narrow the lead to 15-17 but couldn’t sustain the fight and lost 17-21.

The second game began on an even keel with Aashi wiping off a 0-2 deficit. But thereafter, it was Samiya all the way as she took three straight points to make it 8-5 before increasing the lead to 11-6. She purred ahead from there on, winning 21-12.

Manipur’s top talent Meiraba was also on a roll in the boys single final, taking a quick 3-0 lead in the first game. He attacked confidently to race to a 15-6 lead before wrapping up the opening game 21-9.

He was cantering comfortably in the second game too with a 11-7 lead, but that’s when Aakash’s injury caught up with him. He gave away the next five points before throwing in the towel.


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