Teen shuttler Unnati Hooda shone bright as India eked out a 3-2 win over Australia in their third Group B match of the mixed team event of BWF World Junior Championships on Tuesday.
Hooda, the 15-year-old from Haryana, kept India afloat in the tie after men’s doubles pair of Arsh Mohammad and Abhinav Thakur lost the opening match. Women’s pair of Isharani Baruah and Devika Sihag, and mixed doubles combination of Vignesh Thathineni and Srinidhi Narayanan then claimed victories in the last two matches as India emerged winners.
Earlier, Arsh and Abhinav failed to get across Ricky Tang and Otto Xing De Zhao, going down 12-21 17-21 to hand over the advantage to Australia. Unnati, Odisha Open champion, dished out a clinical performance to outclass Sydney Go 21-6 21-9 to bring India back in the contest.
In the men’s singles match, Bharat Raghav’s fight ended with a narrow 19-21 21-16 15-21 loss to Jack Yu as Australia lead 2-1. Isharani and Devika then took centrestage and defeated Australia’s Dania Nugroho and Catrina Chia-Yu Tan 21-8 21-8 to make it 2-2.
Vignesh and Srinidhi then provided the finishing touch with a 21-12 21-16 win over Otto Xing De Zhao and Yuelin Zhang to take India home.
India had defeated Iceland 5-0, before suffering a 0-5 loss to China. The fifth seeds will take on Slovenia in their final Group B match.
India had signed off at the 12th place in the last edition in 2019. The country’s best result was a fourth-place finish in the 2008 edition.
India are currently placed behind China in the second position in their group. Only the team finishing at the top will qualify for the quarterfinals, while the second-placed teams will compete for places 9-16.
Team finishing third will play for positions 17-24, while fourth-placed sides will compete for 25-32 positions, and fifth-placed teams for 33-38 spots.