Newly crowned junior world no. 1 Anupama Upadhyaya and Odisha Open Super 100 champion Unnati Hooda would be spearheading India’s challenge at the BWF World Junior Badminton Championships to be held at Santander, from October 17-30. Also in contention would be Sankar Muthusamy S, also a world no.1.
The Indian team for the prestigious tournament, to be held after a gap of two years following the Covid pandemic, was selected after a thorough selection process that included two All India Ranking tournaments and a selection trial in Raipur. Hooda had topped the girl's singles trials with S Rakshita Sree and Upadhayaya finishing second and third respectively.
The in-form Bharat Raghav, who won both the All Indian ranking titles in Goa and Panchkula, and former junior world No. 1 Sankar Muthusamy will be India’s best bet in the boy’s singles category with Ayush Shetty completing the lineup.
India has so far won one gold, three silver, and five bronze medals in the competition with reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lakshya Sen being the last Indian to stand on the podium to receive the boys singles bronze medal in 2018.
“The junior world championships are happening after a long gap and with new players emerging the team has been selected after an extensive selection trial,” said Badminton Association of India secretary Sanjay Mishra.
"We are confident that we would be challenging for medals in the mixed team championships and also the individual events,” he added. The event will kick off with the mixed team event. The five matches played to decide the tie include men’s and women’s singles, men's and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
India will also field two doubles pairs each in the men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles categories. The new combination of Arsh Mohammad and Abhinav Thakur along with Nicholas Nathan Raj and Tushar Suveer will shoulder the men’s doubles responsibility.
In women’s doubles, All India ranking meet winners in Goa, Ishrani Baruah and Devika Sihag, will be joined by Tamil Nadu’s Shreya Balaji and Srinidhi N, who helped their state win the South Zone U19 mixed team title recently.
India squad: -
Boy’s Singles: Bharat Raghav, Sankar Muthusamy S, Ayush Shetty
Girl’s Singles: Unnati Hooda, Rakshitha Sree S, Anupama Upadhyaya (HAR)
Boy’s Doubles: Arsh Mohammad/Abhinav Thakur, Nicholas Nathan Raj/Tushar Suveer
Girl’s Doubles: Isharani Baruah/Devika Sihag, Shreya Balaji/Srinidhi N.
Mixed Doubles: Samarveer/Radhika Sharma, Vighnesh Thathineni/Sri Sai Sravya Lakkamraju