Mumbai: Jesmi Sojan, and Saloni Ambwani from Maharani College, Jaipur emerged victorious in the Red Bull Shuttle Up’s Mumbai Qualifiers at Khar Gymkhana here on Saturday. The duo put up an impressive show against Divya Jha, 18 and Samidhya Machindar, 17 from Somaya Sports Academy to win the finals in straight sets 21-4, 21-10 in just 25 minutes. They will now play the National Finals which will be held in Hyderabad on December 8.
Currently ranked 4th in state of Rajasthan, Jesmi Sojan and partner Saloni Ambwani qualified for the Mumbai Qualifiers through Red Bulls College Qualifiers which was held in Jaipur earlier this month. Previously, the duo represented their school in School Games Federation of India's (SGFI) World School Badminton Championship which was held at Pune in April last year. The pair practices together in Jaipur’s DMR Sports Academy in Jaipur.
A total of 40 teams participated in the tournament and the winning duo will now be up against the other winners of qualifying rounds in Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Guwahati. The winners of the National Finals will play against Ashwini Ponnappa and her partner.
With the growing popularity of the sport, be it in viewership numbers (5th most viewed) or participation (2nd most played), the tournament aims to further boost and improve participation and popularity amongst aspiring women players.
India’s ace women doubles shuttler and Red Bull athlete Ashwini Ponnappa said, “It has been my ambition to promote badminton in India, especially for women. It’s great to be associated with brands like Red Bull that create such platforms and that give wings to the dreams of aspiring talent. It’s been a great journey with Red Bull Shuttle Up and I only see it growing in the years to come. I would like to wish all the participants the very best of luck.”
Winners of the Mumbai qualifiers, Jesmi and Saloni said, “Though it was an easy win for us, the road to the finals was a tough one. Mumbai has some amazing players and a win here has just given a much needed boost to our confidence. It is a great platform for badminton players like us who want to showcase their talent in order to grow further. Our next aim is to win the National Finals and play against Ashwini, she is one of our idols and playing against her would be a dream come true.”
Winners of the other city qualifiers:
- Delhi qualifiers
Winners: Kavya Gandhi / Rageshri Garg
Runners-up: Anahita and Ojashwini
- Hyderabad qualifiers
Winners: Poorvi Singh / Vanshika Kapila
Runners-up: Likhita Gouti / Maitreyi
- Guwahati qualifiers
Winners: Ernacles Syiem / Mamta Singh
Runners-up: Niyanta D / Nandini Goswami
- Chandigarh qualifiers
Winners: DR Kumar and Akanshi Baliyan
Runners-up: Ishita and Garima
- Bangalore qualifiers
Winners: Nikhita R / Kumari Jagrity Pandey
Runners up: Poojitha and Niharika Sridhar