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Para-Badminton Worlds: India's doubles pairs continue good run; enter quarters

Tokyo, Nov 3 (IANS) The Indian team continued its good run of form at the ongoing BWF Para-Badminton World Championships as their doubles pairs including the men’s doubles wheelchair duo of Prem Kumar Ale and Abu Hubaida entered the quarterfinals here on Thursday.

Ale and Hubaida, the world No.6 pair in men’s doubles WH1-WH2, got the better of the Spanish pair of Ignacio Fernandez and Francisco Motero 21-12, 21-8 to top their group. However, Ale highlighted Wednesday’s win against Thailand’s Dumnern Junthong and Anuwat Sriboran 21-17, 23-21 as the turning point.

“That win (over Thailand) was important for us to cement our place in the elimination round,” Ale was quoted as saying by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) on Thursday.

“It has been a good tournament so far. We have worked hard for the World Championships for a long time, especially on our accuracy and combination and now the results are showing. Hopefully, we can go back home with a podium finish this time,” said Ale, who along with Hubaida has claimed five medals this year including one silver.

Ale and Hubaida will next face French duo Thomas Jacobs and David Toupe on Friday.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS ADVANCE

Meanwhile, top seed Pramod Bhagat and Manoj Sarkar lived up to their billing and reached the last eight stage of men’s doubles SL3-SL4 as did second-seeded Chirag Baretha and Raj Kumar in men’s doubles SL3-SU5.

Bhagat and Sarkar overcame Korea’s Joo Dongjae and Shin Kyung Hwan in three games 21-17, 16-21, 21-10, while Baretha and Kumar thrashed Jorge Enrique Moreno and Jean-Paul Ortiz Vargas of Colombia 21-2, 21-7.

“I am feeling very positive about my performance in men’s doubles and mixed doubles (with Mandeep Kaur). I feel we have a good combination of youth and experience, with Rajkumar Bhaiya guiding me throughout,” said Baretha, the 2017 Asian Youth Para Games bronze medallist who also has two gold in men’s doubles this year.

In other exciting matches, World Championships debutants Hardik Makkar and Ruthick Ragupathi rallied from a game down to defeat Chinese Taipei’s Gui Yu Pu and Yeh En-Chuan 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 in their last group match.

Meanwhile, Suhas Yathiraj and Umesh Vikram Kumar advanced with a fighting 22-24, 21-19, 21-15 win over France’s third seed Gailly Guillaume and Thomas Mathieu in the men’s doubles SL3-SL4 match.

STRONG SHOW IN SH6 CATEGORY

In the SH6 category, India will have two mixed doubles pairs — Krishna Nagar and Nithya Sre Sumathy Sivan while Sivarajan Solaimalai and Rachana Shaileshkumar Patel, both of whom are raring to fight for the podium.

Among others, reigning world champion Manasi Joshi will be seen in action in three quarterfinals, including her singles, SL3-SU5 doubles with Shanthiya Viswanathan and SL3-SU5 mixed doubles along with Ragupathi.

Joshi and Viswanathan will face compatriots and top seeds Mandeep Kaur and Manisha Ramadass in the women’s doubles SL3-SU5 quarterfinals.

–IANS

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CELEBRITY GALLERY

Nora Fatehi

Ananya Panday

Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu

Malavika Mohanan

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