Pune, 29 August: Promising star Pranav Rao Gandham won a couple of rounds in qualifying to secure his place in the main draw of Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix at the P E Society’s Modern PDMBA Sports Complex, here today.
Gandham made a strong start to the qualifiers to upset the fourth seed Tukum Laa 21-11, 21-13. He next fought hard to edge Anirudh Janardhanan 21-6, 12-21, 21-17 on his way to the main draw where he will meet Thailand’s Puritat Arree.
The Telegana boy Gandham had come to this tournament with a rich vein of form following his twin title wins at the ranking tournaments in Guwahati and Imphal.
A few days after losing a nail-biting final, Gujarat’s Tasnim Mir reversed the result when she sent last week’s Bangalore All India Junior Ranking Tournament winner and fourth seed Trisha Hegde packing with a gritty 19-21, 21-11, 21-7 win. In the final round, she made short work of Akshaya Arumugam 21-13, 21-15 to set up a showdown with former U-15 Asian Championships gold medallist Samiya Imad Farooqui.
While six Indians made it to the main draw in boys’ singles out of a possible eight, all the eight qualifiers in the girls’ singles section were Indians. Likhita Srivastava was another local girl who impressed with a fine 21-18, 21-11 upset victory over fifth seed Khor Jing Wen.
Assam boy Ayan Rashid blew away the fifth seed Akash Thakur 21-11, 21-9 to start his campaign but fell to Malaysia’s Ken Yon Ong 21-11, 21-12 in the final round. Promising talent Ayush Raj Gupta showed his resilience and fighting spirit in his 24-22, 14-21, 21-11 win over the sixth seed Shivam Kumar Mishra to qualify.
The four-day tournament, held in memory of Sushant Chipalkatti, is the only Grand Prix event to be played in India, will see India’s Junior World No. 9 Varun Kapur and Thailand’s Junior World No. 6 Benyapa Aimsaard heading the draws in the boys’ singles and girls’ singles sections respectively.
With a handsome prize money of $15000 and Yonex Sunrise as the title sponsor, it will feature 249 participants from 8 countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Uganda, Bangladesh, Nepal and an encouraging a number of Indian promise.