With an objective of putting up a great show in the 2018 Asian Games Jakarta, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has today announced a strong 20-member squad.
The Men’s team will be led by World No.7 Kidambi Srikanth and World No.13 H.S Prannoy, while the Women’s team will be spearheaded by World No.3 PV Sindhu and World No.10 Saina Nehwal. The squad which is a fine mix of experience and youth will see Chirag Shetty and Satwik sairaj Rankireddy lead the Indian challenge in the men’s doubles, while Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa will be responsible for leading India’s charge in the Women’s doubles section as part of the elite team selection.
The Federation for the first time in its history also followed an elaborate process for selecting the remaining squad by organising two senior ranking tournaments in Bangalore and Hyderabad to allow the domestic players a chance to prove their quality and talent.
The selection committee picked up seven players including Sourabh Verma, Ashmita Chaliha, Sai Uttejitha Rao, Gayathri Gopichand, Akarshi Kashyap, Rutuparna Panda and Aarthi Sara Sunil basis their performance in these competitions. The selection committee met in Bangalore, while selecting the squad also kept in mind the consistency and fitness of the players over six months period as well report of coaches from the training camps and competitions as criteria for selection.
Congratulating the players on getting selected to represent the country in the quadrennial event, BAI President Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “The selection committee did a wonderful job in putting up the squad together. To keep the selection process fair and transparent, certain criteria were set by the selection panel with key being the points earned by each player from the two qualification domestic tournaments. Wherever the scores of two players were same; their head to head performances were considered before finalising the names. I must say all the players who have been selected deserved a chance to represent the country. I would like to congratulate the players and wish them all the best for the games.”
Indian badminton which is going through its best ever phase would definitely want to better their 2014 medal count, where they returned with just a lone bronze medal in women’s team event and also aim for glory in the individual event where a medal has eluded the country since Syed Modi’s bronze in 1982, Asian Games, Delhi.
Mr. Ajay Singhania, General Secretary of BAI said, “This is first ever initiative by BAI to ensure more players get a chance to showcase their talents and the reserve is strengthen. We have put together a very strong team and are very optimistic of our chances in the Asian Games. The mix of youth and experience for sure will work wonders for us in team and individual events in Jakarta and hopefully will return with our best ever performance in Asiad.”
The continental blue riband which is in its 18th edition will start from August 18th, with the badminton event commencing on August 19th and will run up till August 28th.