Riyan Malhan and Mitulsaran Udayan booked their spots in the semi-finals of the boys’ singles under-9 years category with straight games victory in the 40th India Club UAE Open Badminton Tournament 2017.
At the badminton courts of India Club, Malhan advanced by defeating Evan Jacob Mathew 21-4, 21-5 while Udayan defeated Arjun Jose 23-21, 21-10.
In another U9 match, Noel Cherian Jacob beat Hariharan Sundarapandian 21-13, 21-8.
In the boys’ singles under 11, Aman Sengupta moved into the quarter-finals after defeating Nisarg Thunga 21-4, 21-9, while Mohammed Fardeen had an easy time with a 21-2, 21-1 win over Mohamed Salman.
Thunga, however, advanced in the higher U13 category with a 21-6, 21-5 win over Gagan Mahadikar.
In other U134 matches played on the day, Farhan Siyad, Anwin Krishna and Ahmed Armen Shaji were also winners in two games. Siyad defeated Tanishq Mahimkar 21-7, 21-5, Krishna got the better of Aditya Rajakumar 21-11, 21-19, while Shaji wrapped up his match against Aravind Krishnan quickly with a 21-3, 21-4 result.
The most interesting match in the boys’ singles under 11 was played between Virat Desai and Atchuthan Damodharan. Virat lost the first game 6-21, but stormed back to win the next two 21-19, 21-14.
In the girls’ singles under 13 years, Mishti Bradoo defeated Anvitha Vijay in a hard-fought match 21-17, 21-18, while Sakshi Prakash had a comparatively easier time against Purva Mahadikar, winning 21-14, 21-8.
Devika Malhan moved ahead in girls’ under 11 years singles by defeating Riya Dhamale 21-9, 21-16, but Gianna Fernandes and Sreya Binesh needed three games to defeat their opponents. Fernandes beat Samaika Soni 21-18, 11-21, 21-16, while Binesh got the better of Taralaxmi Karthikeyan 21-16, 16-21, 21-13.
Commencing from April 26 at India Club, Dubai, a total of 28 categories [singles and doubles] for adults and juniors are on the schedule with attractive prizes of up to Dh60,000 to be won in the competition, which is presented by Henna Speedy.
As one of the oldest competitions in the UAE, the event has gone from strength to strength. In 2016, it was given a four-star rating in the Sports Events Ranking System by Dubai Sports Council.
That saw more than 600 contestants took to the courts last year and organisers are predicting an even bigger turn-out with registration closing on Saturday.
“We had a record number of entries last year with 603 and I’m confident we’ll beat that this year,” said Sunil Singh, tournament organiser.
“The India Club UAE Open Badminton tournament has come a long way since it first began. It started as the UAE Open as the sport wasn’t that big at the time. In 2001, we realised there were a lot of people playing badminton and slowly it started growing.
“In the past, we have had players from Iran, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia and India as well as other countries and now it’s a case we don’t have to invite players because the sport is now quite established here in the UAE.”
Matches will be played at 19:00 on weekdays and from 10:00 on Fridays. Entries to categories are restricted to three per person in order to allow more people to compete.
“Our focus is on the youths in order for them to play competitive badminton,” said Singh.
“Each player is only allowed to enter in three categories as we want more people to be part of our annual event.
“We want people to have a passion for the game and a lot of them have that. This is a place where you can showcase your talent. A lot will have given up the sport at one stage but this tournament gives you the platform to play and enjoy it again.”
Sport360 looks back at last year’s Super Series action and picks out six star shuttlers.
What do you make of our picks?
LEE CHONG WEI (MALAYSIA)
World No1 Lee Chong Wei is one of the greatest badminton players of all time and continues to capture the imagination of the millions of fans who follow the sport worldwide.
The 34-year-old had another solid year in 2016, sealing victories in Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan.
The Malaysian would have liked to have finished his year on a winning note but he was beaten by Viktor Axelsen in the semi-finals in Dubai.
JAN JORGENSEN (DENMARK)
Despite securing only one winner’s trophy this year, Jorgensen finished top of the Destination Dubai Rankings for his consistent displays throughout the campaign.
The Dane’s win over Chen Long in the China Open final brought plenty of confidence as it was only his second victory over the former world number one at the 11th time of asking.
He also reached finals in Indonesia and Japan but suffered defeats to Chong Wei on both occasions – a player he is only beaten once in 18 matches.
VIKTOR AXELSEN (DENMARK)
Considered by many as the next generation of badminton superstars, Axelsen finished the season on a positive note after winning the Dubai World Superseries Finals – his first Superseries crown in seven attempts.
The 23-year-old sensationally knocked out Chong Wei in the semis before beating Tian Houwei in the decider.
He reached the final in India in April but lost in straight sets to Kento Momota.
With the new season commencing in just two months, this will prove to be a seminal year for the big Dane.
TAI TZU-YING (CHINA TAIPEI)
The best player on the women’s circuit, Tai Tzu Ying, had a phenomenal year with successes in India, Hong Kong and Dubai.
She also reached finals at Malaysia and Denmark but was beaten by Ratchanok Intanon and Akane Yamaguchi respectively.
The Chinese Taipea shuttler plays with a consistency and pace which is frightening and will be bidding to continue her sparkling form when the new season resumes.
PV SINDHU (INDIA)
An impressive year for the rising star. Sindhu cruised to the China Open title and finished second in Hong Kong, where she lost to Tzu-Ying.
Her performances in Dubai were outstanding, and although she was beaten in the semi-finals against Sung Ji-hyun, the Indian sensation can take major confidence from her sheer class and determination.
With a large Indian population living in the UAE, the court at Hamdan Sports Complex is like a home away from home for the 21-year-old Hyderabad native.
RATCHANOK INTANON (THAILAND)
The former world number one had a sensational start to the season, winning three out of the opening four tournaments, but then injury curtailed virtually the entire second-half of her year.
The Thai star was forced to pull out of Japan, Korea, France and Hong Kong due to a knee tendon issue.
In Dubai, the 21-year-old failed to reach the knock-out stages after losing her three group games, but warrants a place on the list due to her majestic first half of the season.