Shikha to lead State challenge

Shikha to lead State challenge

Badminton : Sen given top billing in boys' section

Shikha to lead State challenge

Top junior shuttlers in the country will be seen in action at the 14th Union Bank all-India Junior-ranking badminton championship which gets underway at the K Raheja stadium here on Sunday.

Organised by the Padukone Sports Management, the tournament will be played in the under-19 and under-17 categories with the qualifying rounds beginning on Sunday. The main round is scheduled to begin from November 24.

The championship, which will also act as a preparatory tournament ahead of the Junior National Championships to be held in Jaipur from November 30, offers a total prize money of Rs 3 lakh and has attracted 1,245 entries from 25 states.

“For the first time we have received entries in such large numbers that in the boys singles section, we will start the main draw with the round of 64, while the main draw in the other categories will begin from the round of 32,” said Mohammed Ali, the chief referee for the championship during a media briefing.

In the U-19 boys category, the absence of top-ranked Siril Verma, who finished runner-up at the recently concluded Junior World championship, will see Air India’s Chirag Sen leading the challenge, while his compatriots Kanishq M and Mithun M will look to make his journey tough. Meanwhile, eighth-seed Sahil Sipani will carry Karnataka’s hopes in the championship, which will also see the newly crowned Sub-junior national champion Maisnam Meiraba competing in the U-17 category.

In the girls U-19 category, rising star Shikha Gautam, who was in great form during the all-India Senior-ranking tournament early this year, will look to dominate the proceedings on her home turf, while Air India’s Bhavya Rishi and Malavika JK of Kerala could pose an eminent threat to her run in the competition.