DUBAI // Imam Adil and Haritha Harinarayanan both were feeling lucky on Friday after successfully defending their titles at the Indian Club UAE Badminton Open.
Adil, a former Indonesia junior national champion, edged Mohammed Munawar 24-22, 8-21, 21-12 in the men’s final, while Harinarayanan, a doubles specialist, came into the women’s singles final with few hopes, but still managed to conquer reigning Pakistan national singles champion Palwasha Bashir 21-17, 13-21, 21-16.
“She has a lot of experience and has represented Pakistan at all the major tournaments,” said Harinarayanan, 21.
“I am a doubles player – I only practise doubles back home, so I knew it was going to be really difficult for me.
“I did not consider myself favourite, so I was not under any pressure. I just decided to go in there and attack – smash, smash, smash everything. Luckily, the strategy worked for me, especially in the third game. She played really well, but it was my day.”
Adil, who trains with Munawar at the Prime Star Sport Academy in Muhaisnah here, felt the same way and said: “I think I was really lucky tonight because I know Munawar is a really good player.”
The two play each other almost every day and Munawar, the runner-up at last year’s south zone championship in India, had no regrets about the result.
“We know each other really well, so I always knew it was not going to be an easy match,” said Munawar. “But I am happy with the way I performed, especially because I injured my leg a week ago.
“I have had a really busy schedule over the last few days as well, with the singles and doubles. So I am really happy with the fight I put up in the final tonight.”
Unlike Munawar, Bashir, 28, who represented Pakistan at the 2014 Commonwealth and Asian Games and won the singles bronze at the 2010 South Asian Federation Games in Dhaka, however, was hugely disappointed after her loss.
“The shuttle was really fast and I struggled to control it at the start,” said Bashir, who is the Pakistan national champion since 2009.
Bashir has been living in Dubai for the past few years along with her husband Mohammed Shoaib Butt, who is a former badminton player himself and is part of Bashir’s coaching team, and this was her second consecutive loss to Harinarayanan at India Club – last year, she had come up short against the Cochin-based Indian in the semis.
“I just could not control my shots and so I had to change my plans in the second game, but unfortunately I could not continue at the same pace in the third,” she added.
“She played really well and I am not going to take anything away from her, but had I played at the same pace as I did in the semis, the result could have been different.”
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