Imam Adi is making a habit of winning at the India Club UAE Open Badminton Tournament after the Indonesian won his third consecutive men’s singles title on Friday night.
The 21-year-old entered the court at India Club as the man to beat having stood top of the podium since 2015 and the Dubai-based player lived up to his billing, winning 2-1 (13-21, 22-20, 21-5) over compatriot Dea Adi Rangga.
He was one of four champions that came out on top on the final day of the 40th edition of the tournament. Following in his footsteps were Tanisha Crasto and Ketan Chahal (Mixed Doubles), James Varghese and Febriani Kusumawati (mxed doubles veterans 45+) and Chahal and Jaffer Ebrahim (men’s doubles).
For Adi, it was a far from an ideal start as Rangga drew first blood by taking the first game 21-13. That was the perfect wake-up call for Adi and he began to show why he was two-time defending champion to lead 11-10 in the interval.
An enthralling rally – that lasted more than 15 shots – was won by the eventual champion, who later levelled the tie.
It was all one-way traffic in the third with every shot won by Adi, who coaches at Dubai’s Prime Star Academy, applauded by the crowd before he wrapped up the victory. While it brought a smile to Adi’s face, he immediately delayed his celebrations to pose alongside his beaten opponent with the Indonesian flag.
“He’s a great player and we’ve known each other for a long time,” said Adi, who also won a 32-inch television as well as the trophy.
“It was a great match to win because I didn’t get the best of starts, but I gradually found my game to win and it’s really special to win my third title. I hope to achieve this again next year, although the competition is getting harder every year.”
For 14-year-old Crasto, she added to her women’s and Under-15 singles titles by retaining the mixed doubles crown.
The women’s final had been scheduled for Friday but was instead played on Wednesday evening after runner-up Negin Amiripour had booked her return flight back home to Iran later that night. Crasto made the most of the advantage of the extra rest by teaming up with Chahal, who had to battle through the pain barrier.
The pair have happy memories after their triumph 12 months ago and it was the same outcome as they piled more misery on men’s singles runner-up Rangga and Kusumawati by prevailing 2-1 (21-18, 24-26, 21-18) Castro, who studies at Indian High School, Dubai and Delhibased Chahal, 23, had to be at their very best in a match that could have gone either way.
It was halfway through the first game when Chahal suffered a recurrence of pain to his left knee which saw action briefly stopped. But the break seemed to be a blessing in disguise as he and Crasto took the first game.
Kusumawati and Rangga forced a decider and while the level of play raised another notch, it was Crasto and Chahal who were left celebrating.
“It was a lot of pain for me but there was no way I wanted to give in as it was the final,” said Chahal, who also won the men’s doubles title with Ebrahim after a 2-1 (21-12, 17-21, 21-15) win over Akbar Basri and Rangga. “It was a tough game and they really pushed us but playing with Tanisha really made things easier, she’s an awesome player.”
There was something to smile about for Kusumawati, who claimed the mixed doubles veterans crown with James Varghese by 21-15, 21-9 against Dinesh Nair and Dilisuci Desuari Sela.