Sameer Verma picked up his first major title at the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships, where the home team shared the five titles with two top Danish doubles pairs.
By Don Hearn. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)
The name Verma has been a mainstay in major tournament finals for many years now. Sameer’s brother Sourabh reached his first Grand Prix Gold final way back in 2011, shortly after Sameer himself had won silver at both the Asian Juniors and the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Last autumn, Sourabh reached his third career Grand Prix Gold final after winning his first Grand Prix title but even these glimpses of glory were more or less eclipsed by Sameer reaching a Superseries Final in Hong Kong. But on Sunday in Lucknow, the Sameer Verma (pictured top) won the family’s biggest title yet when he took the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold title, beating Sai Praneeth in two games.
As with the men’s singles final, the mixed doubles final was guaranteed to produce a first-time Grand Prix Gold winner. In this case, Pranaav Jerry Chopra / Sikki Reddy (pictured right) added this Gold to the two Grand Prix titles they earned last year, denying B. Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, who were also playing their first Grand Prix Gold final.
India’s other title came when Pusarla Venkata Sindhu denied Indonesian teenager Gregoria Mariska any early glory. Similarly, in the first two finals, Denmark’s top seeds Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen (pictured bottom) and Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen fended off the challenge from first time finalists. In women’s doubles, the challengers were Ashwini Ponnappa, who suffered her first of two losses on the day, and Sikki Reddy, who, it turned out, was denied a doubles double.
WD: Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen (DEN)  beat Ashwini Ponnappa / Sikki Reddy (IND) 21-16, 21-18
MD: Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN)  beat Lu Ching Yao / Yang Po Han (TPE)  21-14, 21-15
MS: Sameer Verma (IND)  beat Sai Praneeth B. (IND)  21-19, 21-16
XD: Pranaav Jerry Chopra / Sikki Reddy (IND)  beat B. Sumeeth Reddy / Ashwini Ponnappa (IND)  22-20, 21-10
WS: Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (IND)  beat Gregoria Mariska (INA) 21-13, 21-14