Unnati Hooda in semi-finals; India confirm five medals in Badminton Asia Junior Championships

Unnati Hooda, Gnana Dattu and Anish Thoppani marched into the semi-finals to assure themselves a medal at the Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2022 in Nonthaburi, Thailand on Friday.

Doubles pairs Arsh Mohammad and Sanskar Saraswat, and Bjorn Jaison and Aathish Sreenivas PV also confirmed podium finishes for India.

Indian badminton players won five medals in 2018 while they won two in the 2019 edition. The prestigious continental event is being conducted after two years following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unnati Hooda, the junior world No. 4, continued her sensational run as she outclassed South Korea’s Min Ji Kim 21-15, 21-18 in the under-17 women’s singles quarter-finals.

Top-seed Unnati Hooda will now face Japan’s Milon Yokouchi in the semi-finals.

Gnana Dattu and Anish Thoppani, on the other hand, had to work hard in the under-15 men’s singles quarter-finals against their Indonesian opponents before they wrapped up their respective matches in three sets each.

While the seventh-seeded Gnana Dattu got the better of fourth-seed Radithya Wardhana 21-11, 13-21, 21-11, Anish Thoppani claimed a 22-20, 19-21, 21-12 win over fifth-seeded Glend Rumondor to confirm a semis berth.

Gnana Dattu and Anish Thoppani will be up against Chinese Taipei’s Chung-Hsiang Yih and Lee Yu-Jui, respectively, in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, the in-form under-17 men’s doubles pair of Arsh Mohammad and Sanskar Saraswat earned a hard-fought victory against Indonesia’s Nawaf Khoiriyansyah and Adriel Leonardo. The Indian badminton duo was stretched to three sets but they won the match 24-22, 20-22, 21-15.

Later in the day, the duo of Bjorn and Aathish sealed a second doubles medal to India’s tally when they clinched a come-from-behind 16-21, 21-12, 21-17 victory against Chinese Taipei’s Sheng-Ming Lin and Chla-Yu Tsai in the under-15 men’s doubles category.

Meanwhile, the under-17 mixed doubles pair of Mayank Rana and Jiya Rawat and the under-15 women’s doubles pair of Tanvi Andluri and Durga Kandrapu ended their campaigns with defeats in the quarters.

The Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2022 semi-finals will be held on Saturday while the finals will be played on Sunday.

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Very proficient in writing and talking about sports. Rajarshi is a Chief Editor at Sports Team of India.