Youngsters to clash with top stars as BAI’s selection trials for Asian Games

Hyderabad: An exciting battle is on the card as top stars such as Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen clash with the young brigade, led by Orleans Masters champion Priyanshu Rajawat, at BAI’s selection trials for the Asian Games beginning here on Thursday.

Srikanth, the 2021 World Championship silver medallists, and Lakshya, the Commonwealth Games champion, will face off against their young challengers in the four-day trials, which will be held at the Jwala Gutta Academy.

Both Lakshya and Srikanth haven’t been in the best of form and they will look to put up a good show against the likes of Rajawat, national champion Mithun Manjunath and Tokyo Olympian Sai Praneeth.

Among others, Maisnam Meiraba, Bharat Raghav, Ansal Yadav and Siddhant Gupta are also in the fray in men’s singles.

The Badminton Association of India has been conducting selection trials for major team championships since last year and the players ranked in the top-20 in the BWF world ranking have been picked directly.

The Asian Games in Hangzhou, China to be played from September 23-October 8, 2023 will have separate team championships for men and women followed by the individual events in which India can have a maximum of two entries per event.

Nine men’s singles players and eight women’s singles players have entered the trials for three spots each, while there are four entries each in men’s and mixed doubles and three in women’s doubles.

The selectors have proposed to pick one pair each for men’s and women’s doubles and two mixed doubles combinations through a round-robin tournament format to decide the final standings.

The highlights of the selection trials format are as follows:

Men’s and women’s singles players will be divided in two groups in Stage 1 with the top-two players in each group going to Stage 2. The four players will once again face off in a league format and the result of Stage 2 for players competing against each other for the second time will be considered for final standings.

For the doubles events, there will be only one stage with all pairs playing round-robin matches to decide the final standings.

The selected players will join HS Prannoy, former world champion PV Sindhu, reigning Asian champions Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and women’s doubles combination of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly in the Asian Games squad.