By Harpal Singh Bedi
Samiya Imad Farooqui led the charge as Indian juniors bagged three gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the Bulgarian International Badminton Championships in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria on Sunday.
Samiya captured the girls’ singles gold as Indians created multiple upsets with the girls’ doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Aditi Bhatt and the mixed doubles combine of Edwin Joy and Shruti Mishra finishing on the top podium.
2017 U-15 Asian Junior Championships gold medallist Samiya showed superb resilience and strong nerves in fighting back from a game down to secure a 9-21, 21-12, 22-20 win over the second seed Anastasiia Shapovalova in 59 minutes.
The doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Aditi Bhatt were equally impressive as they stunned the Turkish top seeds Bengisu Ercetin and Zehra Erdem 21-15, 18-21, 21-18. Edwin Joy and Shruti Mishra brought more delight for the Indian contingent with their effortless 21-14, 21-17 win over the British second seeds Brandon Zhi Hao Yap and Abbygael Harris.
The only final result that did not go India’s way was the boys’ doubles one where the top-seeded British pair of William Jones and Brandon Zhi Hao inflicted a 21-19, 21-18 defeat on fourth seeds Ishan Bhatnagar and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala.
Other than these results, a couple of Indians bowed out in the semi-finals and had to settle for the bronze. In girls’ singles, Anastasiia Shapovalova beat India’s Malvika Bansod 21-13, 21-15 while in boys’ singles, India’s highly-talented junior World No. 15 Meiraba Luwang succumbed to a 19-21, 21-12, 18-21 defeat to the top seed and eventual champion Georgii Karpov.
National Junior Coach, Sanjay Mishra expressing his happiness at the player’s performance said, “The shuttlers displayed lot of nerve and resilience beating top seeded and higher ranked players.The performance here will definitely give loads of confidence to these junior players as we prepare for the upcoming World Championships.”