Former Junior World No.1 Sankar Muthusamy Subramanian assured India of a BWF World Junior Championships 2022 medal after he defeated China’s Hu Zhen An to reach the men’s singles semifinals, here on Friday.
Subramanian, India’s highest-ranked junior men’s singles player at world No.4, held his nerves despite losing the second game rather easily, to beat his Chinese opponent 21-18, 8-21, 21-16 in an hour and 31 minutes in the men’s singles quarterfinals to guarantee himself a podium finish.
Notably, both the losing semifinalists win bronze medals at the junior world championships.
The Indian player started the match well but lost the plot in the second game to allow his Chinese opponent a way into the match. After winning the second game, Hu Zhen An looked confident and took a 6-4 lead in the decider before Sankar relied on his superior defence to first clinch six points in a row and then raced to a 19-11 lead.
Subramanian probably took his foot off the pedal thereafter but the lead was too big for Hu to cover and the Indian converted the second match point to set up a semifinal clash against Thailand’s Panitchaphon Teeraratsakul.
Whatever the colour of his medal turns out to be, S. Sankar’s podium finish will be India’s 10th medal at the age-group tournament. Before the 2022 edition, India had won one gold, three silvers and five bronze medals, all in singles, in the tournament.
Subramanian’s medal is also India’s first at the junior world championships since Lakshya Sen’s bronze in 2018. India’s only gold medal at the meet was won by Saina Nehwal in 2008.
The BWF World Junior Championships were not held in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19. The current edition of junior championships will conclude on October 30.