Badminton Asia Junior C’ships: Top seed Unnati Hooda sets up final against Sarunrak Vitidsarn

December 4, 2022

BadmintonBadminton Asia Junior Championships

Reference: https://scroll.in/field/1038953/badminton-asia-junior-cships-top-seed-unnati-hooda-sets-up-final-against-sarunrak-vitidsarn

Unnati Hooda created reached the singles final at the Badminton Asia U-17 & U-15 Junior Championships, defeating Japan’s Mion Yokouchi 21-8, 21-17 in Nothaburi, Thailand on Saturday.

According to Badminton Association of India, she became the first Indian to enter the U-17 women’s singles final at the Asia Junior Championships.

Men’s U-15 singles player Anish Thoppani and U-17 men’s doubles pair of Arsh Mohammad and Sanskar Saraswat also moved into finals.

Top-seed Hooda, 15, once again lived up to the expectations and stamped her authority in the U-17 women’s singles semi-final when she wrapped up the match in straight sets. The Odisha Open champion has not yet dropped a game in her campaign at the prestigious event for juniors.

Previously, men’s doubles pairs of Arjun MR-Chirag Shetty (2013) and Krishna Prasad Garaga-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (2015) have won gold medals for India in the U-17 category at the tournament.

“It’s a great achievement for a youngster,” said Sanjay Mishra, General Secretary of Badminton Association of India. “Unnati has proved her top-seeding with dominating displays throughout the tournament. I congratulate her on becoming the first Indian to enter the U-17 singles final at this prestigious tournament.”

“And I also congratulate Anish, Arsh and Sanskar for entering the finals as well as other Indians who secured bronze medals. This tournament is a great platform for young shuttlers and Unnati and our other shuttlers have showcased their talent with impressive performances.”

Hooda will now take on Sarunrak Vitidsarn of Thailand, sister of former three-time junior world champion Kunlavut, in the gold medal match. The two had met recently in Pune in a junior international final, where Vitidsarn got the better of Hooda in an entertaining three-game battle.

The in-form duo of Arsh and Sanskar also showcased a similar dominating display against Chinese Taipei’s Chi-Ruei Chiu and Shao Hua Chiu to ease into the U-17 men’s doubles final with a commanding 21-15, 21-19 win in the lopsided Last-4 contest.

They will now face another Chinese Taipei opponent, Lai Po Yu and Yi-Hao Lin, in the final.

Later in the men’s U-15 semi-final, Anish made a sensational comeback after being one game down to stun the second seed Lee Yu-Jui of Chinese Taipei with a 18-21, 21-12, 21-12 win.

In the final, Anish will be up against Chung-Hsiang Yih of Chinese Taipei, who beat India’s Gnana Dattu 21-16, 19-21, 21-13 in another semi-final.

In 2013, Siril Verma had won gold medal in the men’s U-15 singles while Samiya Farooqui and Tasnim Mir clinched U-15 women’s singles titles in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

With this defeat, Dattu signed off with bronze medals along with the U-15 men’s doubles pair of Bjorn Jaison and Aathish Sreenivas PV, whose impressive run was cut short by the top-seeded Indonesian pair of Muhammad Mubarrok and Raihan Pramono with a 18-21, 14-21 win.

Finals will be played on Sunday.

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