Top-ranked Dhami, Tamang march into quarter-finalsNational champion Rasila Maharjan also made winning start in women’s category.
Dipesh Dhami of Armed Police Force, Ratnajit Tamang and Nabin Shrestha of Nepal Army, and Bikash Shrestha of Bhojpur advanced to the quarter-finals of the ninth Puspa Lal Memorial Ranking Badminton Championships in Itahari on Wednesday.
In the men’s singles event for top-seeded 16 players, national champion Dhami defeated all three opponents to finish as Group ‘B’ winner. Dhami will now play against Group ‘D’ runner-up Rukesh Maharjan of Nepal Army for a place in the semi-final while Group ‘D’ winner Nabin will take on Group ‘B’ runner-up Praful Maharjan.
Jiban Acharya of Nepal Police Club came second in Group ‘A’ to enter the last-eight. Acharya will now compete with Group ‘C’ winner Bikash while Tamang faces NPC’s Sunil Joshi for semi-final berths.
Tamang won 21-6, 21-10 against NPC’s Acharya, 21-10, 21-13 against APF’s Suman Limbu and 19-21, 21-9, 21-14 against Gautam Singh Kathayat. NPC’s Acharya got the better of APF’s Limbu 21-18, 24-22 and Kathayat 15-21, 21-19, 21-14. APF’s Gautam overcame Limbu 21-15, 21-15.
In Group ‘B’, Dhami defeated Army’s Maharjan 21-19, 21-9 and Banke’s Irfan Ansari 21-14, 21-14. Maharjan then defeated Ansari 21-11, 21-15. Former national champion Bikash Shrestha beat APF’s Bijit Thapa Magar 21-15, 21-9 and NPC’s Joshi 21-17, 21-14. Bijit also lost to Joshi 21-16, 21-9. In Group ‘D’, Nabin defeated fellow Armyman Maharjan 21-15, 21-10 and received a walkover from Bishnu Katuwal of NPC after Katuwal retired due to poor health.
Under the women’s singles category of elite 12 shuttlers, APF’s Jeshika Gurung, Sunaina Mukhiya and Nepal Army’s Anumaya Rai entered the quarter-finals. Jessica beat APF’s Shova Gauchan 21-8, 21-12 and Sima Rajbanshi of Morang 21-18, 24-22 in Group ‘D’ to secure her place in the last-eight. She will be up against Group ‘B’ runner-up Ranjana Bhatta of Nepal Army. Rajbanshi of Morang also made it to the quarter-finals finishing second in the group after a 21-7, 21-16 victory over APF’s Gauchan.
APF’s Sunaina Mukhiya topped Group ‘B’ after victories over Nepal Army’s Ranjana Bhattarai 21-19, 21-14 and Amita Giri 21-17, 22-20. Mukhiya will meet Sima Rajbanshi, who finished second in Group ‘D’. Nepal Army’s Ranjana defeated Giri 21-12, 21-18 to finish second in the group. Nepal Army’s Anumaya Rai entered the last-eight after defeating Nita Lamsal of Morang 21-17, 27-25) and Sita Rai of Bhojpur 19-21, 21-17, 21-12 in Group ‘C’. Despite losing to Anumaya, Lamsal ended up second in the group after beating Rai.
National women’s champion Rasila Maharjan also made a winning start, defeating Samjhana Sharma of Banke in Group ‘A’. The remaining games of women’s category are scheduled for Thursday.
In a separate men’s open singles category, Nepal Army’s Pawan Linthep, Gokul Jhora and Diwash Shankar, Amrit Chaudhary and Devraj Rana of Kailali, Riyaz Ansari of Banke, Sashin Dangol of Lalitpur, Sujan Shrestha and Pranish Singh Thakuri of Budhasubba, APF’s Priyanshu Singh Chhetri, Indra Mahata, Pemba Sherpa and Nirajan Devkota, NPC’s Gaurav Dahal and Purna Bahadur Thapa and Rupandehi’s Kiran Bista secured their places in the pre-quarter-finals.
Pemba Sherpa and Priyanshu Singh Chhetri of APF, Jaibi Saud and Amrit Chaudhary of Kailali, Himal Chand of Kanchanpur, Suraj Gupta, Safiq Idrisi and Himanshu Kunwar of Dang, Taplejung’s Miling Gurung, Kapilvastu’s Rohit Baral, Nepal Army’s Bhoj Bahadur Gurung, Diwash Shankar and Gokul Jhora, Surkhet’s Narendra Bam, Satyam Subba of Budhasubba and Sunsari’s Shashank Subba reached the last-16 in the U-17 boys’ singles category.
In men’s doubles, the APF pair of Bijit Magar and Dipesh Dhami, Nepal Army’s Pabin Linthep and Suroj Maharjan, Banke’s Riyaz Ansari and Irfan Ansari and NPC’s Purna Bahadur Thapa and Gaurav Dahal reached the quarter-finals.