India‘s top male shuttler Parupalli Kashyap notched up his maiden national title, while 2008 winner Sayali Gokhale stunned defending champion PV Sindhu to clinch the crown for the second time in the women’s singles at the 77th Senior National Badminton Championship on Wednesday.
The competition ended on a disappointing for the promising youngster PV Sindhu.The 17- year- oldfought hard but ultimately went down to Sayali. Sayali in the end played a better game to walk away with a 21-15 15-21 21-15 win and regain her title, which she had won in 2008.
To Sindhu’s credit, she chose to not pull out of the match after being clearly troubled by her injured right knee. Sayali, executing her plan of making Sindhu, conqueror of Olympic champion Li Xuerui last month, stretch on either flanks, played the big points better in the deciding game to emerge victorious.
Doubles specialist Aparna Balan notched up two titles, winning the mixed doubles and women’s doubles title, along with Arun Vishnu and Siki Reddy, respectively.
Aparna first combined with Arun to see off Ashwini Ponnappa and Tarun Kona 21-13 18-21, then paired up with Siki Reddy to brush off second seeds Varsha Belawadi and G M Nischitha 21-11 21-13 to win the women’s doubles title.
In the men’s doubles competition, young shuttlers Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy B notched up their maiden national title, beating third seeds Akshay Dewalkar and Pranaav Jerry Chopra 10-21 21-14 21-12 in a 40-minute match.
London Olympics quarter-finalist Kashyap, who had reached the finals in the 2011 Nationals in Rohtak, prevailed over Ajay 21-18 21-17 in a 45-minute battle to burst into jubilation.
Kashyap, twice National runner-up, clearly turned out to be the more inspired contender on this day. The match lacked rallies as both players seemed to be a touch nervous on the threshold of their maiden National title.
World number 20, Kashyap lead the first game 11-9 at the break and even though Ajay clawed back a couple of times, the Hyderabadi pocketed the game.
In the second game, Ajay was 10-8 up at one stage but Kashyap reeled off three points to move into the breather at 11-10. Slowly and steadily he once again widened the gap to move to the match point at 20-16. Ajay saved one match point, before Kashyap shut the door on him with a smash.
Later, the Badminton Association of India presented Rs. 10 lakh to chief coach P. Gopi Chand. Kashyap received Rs. five lakh for reaching the quarterfinals in the London Olympics and Sindhu got a similar amount for winning the Asian junior title.