Badminton Association of India (BAI) is leaving no stone unturned to make the upcoming Senior National Championships, starting November 2 in Nagpur, one of the most sought-after badminton events in the country.
After increasing the prize money of the upcoming 82nd edition of the annual tournament to Rs 1 crore and assuring players of facilities matching international standards, the BAI on Saturday, September 30, revealed that the players in the top-50 of BWF World Rankings will get a direct entry into the quarter-final.
Sindhu, Saina and Srikanth confirm quarter-final slots
BAI's announcement means the likes of PV Sindhu (world number 2), Saina Nehwal (12) and Kidambi Srikanth (8) will be beginning their campaigns at the Senior National Championships from the last-eight round.
BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma said eight of the 16 quarter-final slots (Men's and Women's singles combined) will go to the top-50 shuttlers.
HS Prannoy (15), Sai Praneeth (17), Sameer Verma (19), Ajay Jayaram (20) and Sourabh Verma (33) are also likely to join the Big Three (Srikanth, Sindhu and Saina) of Indian badminton in the quarter-final. Former top-10 player Parupalli Kashyap, who is ranked 46 currently, will miss out on the automatic spot.
Notably, Sourabh and Rituparna Das won the Men's and Women's title, respectively at the 81st National Championships held in Pune earlier this year.
"It will be mandatory for all the top-ranked players to participate in the event. Those players who are in the world top-50, would get a direct entry into quarterfinals. However it will be limited to a maximum of eight slots out of a total of 16," Biswa Sarma was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
Indian players likely to snub Bitburger GPG
Most of the Indian shuttlers thus are likely to miss Bitburger Grand Prix Gold, which is scheduled between October 31 and November 5 at Saarbrucken, Germany.
The BAI chief had earlier said that the governing body wanted to transform the national championships into a brand, much like what it did with Premier Badminton League (PBL) -- the franchise-based league that attracts top-ranked stars from across the world.
Biswa Sarma also said that their presence will not only be spectacular for fans but will also help in attracting broadcasters in turn driving sponsorships for the tournament in the domestic sector.