All-India badminton meet from tomorrow

Though stalwarts like Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will be absent, the five- day meet, which concludes on September 5, will be boosted by the presence of defending National champion Arvind Bhat and the experienced Anup Sridhar.

“We need to have a strong domestic circuit for the development of the sport,” said badminton legend Prakash Padukone at a press meet to announce the event, organised by Padukone Sports Management.

“The Badminton Federation of India (BFI) should make the rules in such a way that some of the top players would make themselves available for major domestic tournaments,” he added.

The young brigade -- top men’s seed Saurabh Varma, defending champion HS Prannoy, National Games silver medallist from Karnataka Aditya Prakash and National Junior champion B Sai Praneeth -- will be keen to cash in on the big opportunity.

In the women’s section, number one seed Neha Pandit, National championship finalist Arundathi Pantawane, and former national champions Trupti Murgunde and Sayali Gokhale will be the cynosure.

The qualifying rounds will be held on Thursday and Friday, with eight singles players and four doubles pairs each from the men’s and women’s sections making it to the main draw, commencing on Saturday.

The event, conducted under the aegis of the BFI and the Karnataka Badminton Association, will have a prize money of Rs 5 lakh. The men’s singles champion will take home Rs 75,000 while the women’s winner will be richer by Rs 50,000.

The seedings:

Men: Saurabh Varma (PSPB) 1; B Sai Praneeth (PSPB) 2; HS Prannoy (PSPB) 3; Arvind Bhat (PSPB) 4; Nanda Gopal K (AAI) 5; B Sumeeth Reddy (AAI) 6; Mohit Kamat (Rly) 7; Sachin Ratti (Rly) 8.

Women: Neha Pandit (AAI) 1; Arundathi Pantawane (Mah) 2; Sayali Gokhale (AI) 3; Anita Ohlan (Rly) 4; Sampada S (AAI) 5; Mohita Sahadev (AAI) 6; Dhanya Nair (Rly) 7; Mudra Dhainje (AI) 8.

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