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Assam duo enter mixed doubles semis
Sobhapati Samom
 IMPHAL, Nov 16 - Assam’s two young badminton players became the saving grace for the State by entering the semifinal in the mixed double (U-19) category in the ongoing 37th Junior Boys’ and Girls’ National Badminton Championship at Khuman Lampak Indoor Stadium in Imphal this evening.

Seventeen year old Kaustav Deka of Guwahati and Ningshi Block Hazarika (16) of Dibrugarh paired mixed double team today entered the semifinal defeating Pravesh Kumar Dhruw and Ankita Gupta of Chhatisgarh in a quarterfinal by a margin of 16-21,21-14 and 21-14.

In the pre-quarter final matches Kaustav and Ningshi beat Haryana (21-13, 21-15) and Andhra Pradesh teams (21-18, 21-15) in the straights sets. Now they are likely to face top seeded Andhra Pradesh team in the semifinal which is scheduled to play tomorrow.

Except the day’s mixed double victory, no Assam players could get a semifinal berth as of now in the ongoing champion.

“Lack of proper preparation due to festival and examination (of the players) could be the reason behind the poor performance”, says Assam team’s chief coach Faizal Rahman, an Indonesian while talking to The Assam Tribune. “We hardly practice for 7/8 days prior to the championship.”

A total of 24 players including 9 girls and 11 boys led by Assam team Manager Laishram Hemanta were among the 457 badminton players representing 33 teams, participating in the ongoing tourney which is scheduled to conclude on November 18.

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