Gayatri Gopichand

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Jamie Alter , U-15 shuttlers Gayatri Gopichand, Samiya Farouqi emerge victorious in Jakarta , Apr 16, 2017: The Times of India


Gayatri Gopichand won the Under-15 women's singles title by beating compatriot Samiya Imad Farouqui

Gayatri and Samiya also won the women's U-15 doubles title Finishing with bronze was Kavipriya Selvam

Not long before the first all-Indian final of the Singapore Open Super Series between Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth, approximately 900 kilometers southwards in Jakarta, three young Indian shuttlers did the country proud by claiming podium finishes at the 2017 International Junior Grand Prix.

Gayatri Gopichand, daughter of All-England champion and coach of Rio Olympics silver medalist PV Sindhu, among other champions, won the Under-15 women's singles title by beating compatriot Samiya Imad Farouqui, while finishing with bronze was Kavipriya Selvam. Gayatri and Samiya also won the women's U-15 doubles title. The doubles bronze was won by Kavipriya and Meghana Reddy.

All four girls are products of the SAI Pullela Gopichand National Badminton Academy in Hyderabad, which for the first time was able to send a group of U-15 level badminton players overseas to compete in the age-group International Junior Grand Prix.

Continuing the promise displayed from an early age, Gayatri beat Samiya 21-11, 18-21, 21-16 in 56 minutes to claim the U-15 singles title, and a while later the two girls teamed up to beat the Indonesian pair of Kelly Larissa and Shelandry Vyola 21-17, 21-15 in 28 minutes to win the the women's U-15 doubles title.

On Saturday, Gayatri had soundly defeated Indonesia's Puspitanaya Effendi Nadelita 21-12, 21-11 to reach the final of the women's U-15 singles event, while Samiya beat compatriot Kavipriya Selvam 15-21, 21-13, 21-16 to meet her in the summit clash. Gayatri and Samiya made the doubles final after beating Dea Riska Putri Hapsari and Anyza Velda Syafira 21-16, 21-12.

In the women's U-15 doubles semi-finals, Meghana Reddy Mareddy and Kavipriya lost to Larissa and Vyola 21-16, 21-18 on Saturday. Vikas Yadav lost to Mawardi Putra Damas 21-17, 18-21, 21-17 in the men's U-15 semi-finals.

Speaking to TOI Sports, Gopichand said: "I have been saying for a while when people ask me 'who after Saina [Nehwal], Sindhu and Kidambi?' that we are ready with a very strong second string who will do honours for India in the next few years. These U-15 kids prove that and it augurs well that three of the four semi-finalists are from India. It's also good to see the seniors winning in Singapore and the junior girls doing well in Indonesia."

With the success of India's badminton contingent at the Singapore Open and in the U-15s in Jakarta, against the backdrop of Sindhu's sensational rise over the last 18 months, the future does appear bright for the country's shuttlers.

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