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Rahul Bharadwaj won the first Senior International title of his fledgling career at the Uganda International Series Badminton Tournament in Kampala yesterday. He saved a match point in the second game of his gruelling 69-minute final against the sixth seed Kari Gunnarsson of Iceland to win 22-24, 22-20 and 21-17. The unseeded Rahul had to come through three qualifying rounds before he played the main draw. He had to wage three setters against Dimitriy Panarin of Kazakhstan, Christian Kirchmayr of Switzerland and Azmy Quomimuramadhoni of Azerbaijan to reach the finals. Surprisingly, the beat the top seed of the tournament Rosario Maddaloni of Italy in straight games in the second round.
The Under 15 National Boys' Singles Champion in 2014 was continuously hampered by injuries during the last four years. Rahul returned with a Runner up finish in the National Under 19 Championship in Guwahati in 2017 but was once again laid low by a knee injury which put him out of competition for nine months. He once again returned to competition with a bronze medal finish in the 2018 Junior Nationals and a Runner up finish in the Khelo India Under 21 Singles event in Pune earlier this year. This win is testament to the highly disciplined training and rehabilitation program he went through over the last couple of years with the help of trainers and physics at the PPBA.
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