Thailand's Pitchamon Opatniputh dedicated her world junior world title to her late grandfather after winning it on Sunday.
The 16-year-old defeated Indonesia’s Chiara Marvella Handoyo 21-11 21-9 in just 34 minutes in the girls’ singles final of the BWF World Junior Championships in Spokane, Washington.
Nicknamed ‘Pink’, the teenager fulfilled a promise she had made to herself after the death of her grandfather last year.
Pitchamon’s grandfather had passed away just before she left for the 2022 World Junior Championships, and she invoked his memory as soon as she came away after securing the crown with an easy win over a struggling Handoyo.
The Indonesian appeared to be struggling physically and had no answer to the Thai.
“I feel so proud of myself and I’d like to thank everyone cheering for me,” Pitchamon told www.bwfbadminton.com.
“I feel the pressure is lesser now, and I want to say that I could do it for my grandpa because last year I tried to do it for him but I could not, but this year I could.
“My grandpa was my friend, philosopher and guide.
“I didn’t go in with any expectations. Before I played, I was ready to accept a loss too.”
Pitchamon is the seventh Thai to win the world junior title after Ratchanok Intanon (girls’ singles), Kunlavut Vitidsarn (boys’ singles), Maneepong Jongjit and Rodjana Chuthabunditkul (mixed doubles) and Kittinupong Kedren and Dechapol Puavaranukroh (boys’ doubles).
Both Ratchanok and Kunlavut went on to win three world junior crowns in a row and later became world champions at the senior level.
Pitchamon’s triumph on Sunday should be a tonic for Thai badminton after its players had put up dismal performances at the Asian Games in Hangzhou which ended on Sunday.
Patama Leeswadtrakul, president of the Badminton Association of Thailand, congratulated Pitchamon on her success.
She also praised her coach Kasemsak Chatuchinda for making her a better player.
Pitchamon was a member of the Thai women’s team which won the gold medal at the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia.