UAE’s Bharath Latheesh in action during a qualifying match of the Dubai 2023 Badminton Asia Championships.
UAE shuttlers Bharath Latheesh and the doubles pair of Dev Ayyappan and Dhiren Ayyappan won their respective qualifying matches as the Dubai 2023 Badminton Asia Championships kicked off at the Al Nasr Club on Tuesday.
Latheesh, fresh from his three titles at the Spain, Uganda and Cyprus junior international events, continued the winning momentum to pull off both his qualifying matches — against Iraq's Yousif Alhumairi and Salar Bayat from Iran — and top Group C and advance into the men’s singles main draw.
“I am happy to make the main draw of the prestigious meet. This is an important event in my career; and I am hoping to give my best and learn from these top players here. The recent title wins have given me a lot of confidence and I will go out tomorrow with that confidence,” said a motivated Latheesh who faces the fourth seed from Japan Kodai Naraoka in the men’s singles Round of 32.
Latheesh also added that the past few months he has worked a lot on his strokes and fitness and it's paying off now. A Lee Chong Wei fan, the 15-year-old next year aims to do well at the World Junior Championships.
Before Latheesh's amazing display of smashes and deft drops, the Ayyappan twin brothers had advanced into the main draw of the men's doubles event.
"This has been a very important event in our career, and we are just thrilled to watch and play our idols here. We even got goosebumps when we learnt that we learnt our opponents in the Round of 32,” said the New Vision Badminton Academy trainees, who dream to represent UAE at the Olympics one day.
The 17-year-olds have recently won the doubles title at the Cyprus International and U-19 National Championships in India.
The Ayyappan brothers, who rallied from a game down to defeat Bangladesh’s Md. Abdul Hamid Lukman and Gourab Singha 16-21, 21-15, 21-19 in their qualifiers, will play the third seeded Indonesia pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan on Wednesday.
Among other UAE shuttlers, the mixed doubles duo of Dev Vishnu and Taabia Khan impressed in their game against India's Rohan Kapoor and Sikki Reddy but it wasn't enough in the end.
The Dubai 2023 Badminton Asia Championships, which runs until April 30, has around 300 shuttlers from 28 nations in action.
World number two Anthony Sinisuka Ginting was crowned the new men's champion at the Badminton Asia Championships when he ended the run of Singapore's Loh Kean Yew in the final.
India's P.V. Sindhu, the two-time Olympic medallist and eighth seed in the championship, was returning to the Emirate after their bronze medal at the Mixed Team Championships in February.
Dubai is set to witness the creme de la of badminton including Olympic and world champions in action when it stages the KhiladiX.com 2023 Badminton Asia Championships at the Rashid Bin Hamdan Hall in Al Nasr Club.
Returning to action for the first time since losing the Australian Open final, defending champion Daniil Medvedev made a winning start following a 6-3, 7-5 win over Alexander Shevchenko at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday. The top seed established
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