Top stars eye honour in Badminton NationalsNovember 2, 2017
NAGPUR: The 82nd Senior National Badminton Championship will mark the much-needed revival of the country’s premier domestic tournament with the participation of all the top stars including Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth and unprecedented increase in prize money.
Till the previous edition, which was held early this year at Patna, most of the star shuttlers used to skip the Nationals citing various reasons reducing the event as any other All India Senior Ranking tournament.
However, the combined efforts of Badminton Association of India (BAI) and Maharashtra Badminton Association (MBA) have resulted in the confirmation of participation of the world’s leadings players in the Orange City, which will host the event for the first time at the sprawling Divisional Sports Complex, Mankapur.
The week-long tourney will commence with the team championship on Thursday. The much-awaited individual events will start on Saturday and will conclude on November 8 with all the finals.
The organizing committee have tweaked the draw and increased the total prize money from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 60 lakh to ensure the participation of all the stars.
“Nagpur is hosting the Senior Nationals for the first time and in Maharashtra this event is happening after a long gap of 25 years. We want to make it memorable by giving the best of facilities to the players. The participants will be getting the best of treatment as if they are playing Super Series event. It was the basic idea of BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma and I am trying to implement in the best possible way,” said MBA president Arun Lakhani while addressing a press conference on the eve of the tournament.
The BAI secretary (events) Punnaih Choudari praised the venue and said the stars will play from pre-quarterfinal onwards.
“We have given the top shuttlers direct entry into the pre-quarterfinals depending on their world and BAI rankings. The top doubles pairs will be seen in action from quarters. There will be specific draw to accommodate the top players in consultation with all and after the managers meeting,” said Choudari.
Lakhani added that former international shuttlers of Maharashtra Pradeep Gandhe and CD Deoras will be felicitated for their immense contribution in the field of badminton.
PSPB start as firm favourites
Defending champions Petroleum Sports Promotional Board (PSPB) will launch their campaign against Andhra Pradesh. It will be a tough opener for PSPB considering the fact that in-form doubles player Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will turn up for AP. Besides Satwiksairaj, there are some talented youngsters in the AP side who can trouble the holders.
Last year’s runners-up Airports Authority of India (AAI) will meet West Zone champions Madhya Pradesh. Hosts Maharashtra will lock horns with Uttar Pradesh, while the fourth quarterfinal will be between Haryana and Manipur.
All the four quarters will start simultaneously at 9 am on Thursday. The semifinals will be played later in the evening.
“We have a formidable side and we should retain the title. The presense of Sai Praneeth, Gurusaidutt, Pranaav Chopra and Sikki Reddy have bolstered our team. We might get tough competition from AP, AAI and Maharashtra,” said PSPB coach Arun Vishnu.
Direct entry into pre-quarterfinals
Men’s singles: Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma, Ajay Jayaram, Sourabh Verma, P Kashyap, Daniel Farid
Women’s singles: PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Rituparna Das, Anura Prabhudesai
Men’s doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty, B Sumeeth Reddy-Manu Attri, Shlok Ramchandran-MR Arjun, top pair from latest BAI ranking
Women’s doubles: Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy, Sanjana Santosh-Arathi Sara Sunil, J Meghana-Poorvisha Ram, top pair from latest BAI ranking
Mixed doubles: Pranaav Jerry Chopra-Sikki Reddy, Sumeeth Reddy-Ashwini Ponnappa, top two pairs from latest BAI ranking.
Winners: Rs 5 lakh
Runners-up: Rs 3 lakh
Semifinalists: Rs 1 lakh
Singles winners: Rs 2 lakh
Singles runners-up: Rs 1.5 lakh
Semifinalists: Rs 1 lakh
Quarterfinalists: Rs 75,000