Shuttler Akendra Darji says Junior State Open title will make Diwali extra special for him & family

Shuttler Akendra Darji made Diwali even more special for his parents back home with an emphatic win in the final to lift the Junior State Open badminton title at the MIG Club, Bandra yesterday.

Big win: Akendra Darji won the Junior State Open badminton title
yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan

Top seed Akendra beat second seed Nihal Kothavale 21-7, 21-15 to clinch his third title of the season. 
"The title has come at the right time as I will leave for my hometown during the Diwali break. My family will be very happy with my achievement," Akendra told MiD DAY.

Fourteen-year-old Akendra hails from a modest town Pudal in Satara district. His parents are tailors and barely make ends meet. All his sporting expenditure is borne by the Maharashtra government under the Kreeda Prabodhan scheme introduced by the state for underprivileged kids.

Coach Srikant Vad promises a bright future for his ward. "He is a promising kid and has not let his background come into his way. I am sure he will do well in future," said Vad, who is training Akendra since a couple of years.

Other results: G-U-13: Cherish D'Souza bt Nivedita Rao 21-15, 21-19; B-U-13: Vansh Singh bt Amey Mangaonkar 21-18, 21-13; G-U-15: Kalpita Sawant bt Nivedita Rao 21-18, 21-18.