Recently Anupama Upadhyaya became the World’s No.1 in junior BWF rankings.
In recent times, India has made significant progress in the sport of badminton. Be it the historic Thomas Cup 2022 triumph or domination in the Commonwealth Games 2022, several players like Srikanth Kidambi, Lakshya Sen, PV Sindhu, etc. have shone through.
The success of these badminton stars has been a result of the robust domestic set-up. The junior players rise through the ranks and effortlessly transition to the senior level. Let’s have a look at India’s top five badminton players at the junior level:
5. Tasnim Mir
Mir ascended three ranks to claim the first spot as she won three junior tournament titles in France, Belgium, and Bulgaria. Tasnim became India’s first junior singles world number 1 in badminton on 12th Jan 2022. Tasnim’s father Irfan was a badminton player himself and he is currently a badminton coach. While brother Mohammad Ali Mir is an ex-state level title winner.
Tansim’s current aim is to improve her senior-level ranking and break into the top 200 by the end of the year. She received praise and recognition from Gujarat DGP Ashish Bhatia and Gujarat Cricket Association VP Dhanraj Nathwani among other public figures.
4. Abhinav Thakur
Thakur and Darshan Pujari won a silver medal in the Under-19 doubles category at the All India Junior Badminton Ranking Championship held in Goa in July.
Abhinav has made it into the Indian junior badminton team for the World Junior Championship that will be held in Spain later this year. At the national level, he is ranked first in the U-19 doubles category and ninth in the U-19 singles category.
Abhinav has grabbed gold medals in the National Ranking Championship 2018 and the U-17 Punjab State Badminton Championship as well.
3. Unnati Hooda
Hooda became the youngest Indian badminton player to claim the BWF Super 100 World Tour title when she emerged as a 14-year-old champion in the Odisha Open 2022. Unnati Hooda started her badminton training at Chhotu Ram Stadium in Rohtak, Haryana run by Parvesh Kumar. She won a bronze in the U13 National Championships in 2018 and then followed it up by winning the U-15 National Championship the next year.
Unnati topped the National Junior selection trials held last month. Her coach Parvesh Kumar pointed out that she is willing to push herself even more and usually practices about 1,600 drop shots on a normal training day. She made it to the senior Indian team for the Uber Cup 2022 too.
2. Sankar Muthusamy
Muthusamy became the junior World No.1 in August according to the BWF junior men’s singles rankings. Sankar got selected to represent India in October’s BWF World Junior Championships by topping his category in the selection trials.
The 18-year-old has been taking formal coaching since the tender age of five. He began his tryst with badminton under the watchful eyes of coach Aravindan Samiappan in an academy in Chennai.
Aravindan, who still coaches the 18-year-old Sankar, stated that his pupil won two out of the three junior tournaments that he competed in and this success pushed his ranking to the top. By the year-end, they are looking to break into the top 100 in senior world rankings too.
1. Anupama Upadhyaya
Upadhyaya became only the second Indian shuttler in the Under-19 girls singles to ascend to the top spot in the BWF Junior Rankings. Anupama also clinched the junior international title in Uganda and Poland earlier this year. She has as many as 18.060 points from 18 tournaments. Anupama also reached the semifinals of the Syed Modi International Super 300.
She is set to take part in the Junior World Championships which will be held in Santander, Spain from 17th – 31st of October. She is currently World No. 63 and is training at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy.
A stern test awaits the young Indian badminton players who have qualified for the World Junior Badminton Championships 2022. Having said that, they have proven their mettle irrespective of how they fare at the junior world meet.
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