With a plan 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 team.
The men’s squad will be led by World No.7 Kidambi Srikanth and World No.13 H.S Prannoy, while the women’s squad will be spearhead by World No.3 PV Sindhu and World No.10 Saina Nehwal. The team which is a fine mix of knowledge and youth will see Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj 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 initial time in its history also followed an elaborate process for selecting the remaining team by organizing two senior-ranking tournaments in Bangalore and Hyderabad to allow the domestic players an opportunity to prove their quality and talent.
The selection board picked up seven players including Sourabh Verma, Ashmita Chaliha, Sai Uttejitha Rao, Gayathri Gopichand, Akashi Kashyap, Rutuparna Panda and Aarthi Sara Sunil basis their performance in these competitions. The selection board met in Bangalore while selecting the squad also kept in mind the consistency and strength & Condition of the players over six months era 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 board did an amazing job in putting up the team together. To keep the selection method fair and transparent, certain criteria were set by the selection panel with a 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 was considered before finalizing the names. I must say all the players who have been selected deserved an opportunity to represent the nation. I would like to congratulate the players and wish them all the best for the competitions.”
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 squad 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 strengthened. We have put together a very strong team and are very optimistic about our chances in the Asian Games. The mix of youth and experience for sure will work wonders for us in the team and individual events in Jakarta and confidently will come back with our greatest ever presentation 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.