The Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Saturday (April 2) decided to conduct selection trials at the Indira Gandhi Stadium from April 15 to 20 to pick teams for the upcoming major events such as Thomas and Uber Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. The national governing body will also be “finalising probables for the senior core group for the 2024 Olympic Games” during the trials.
While the players inside the top 15 in the BWF rankings will be picked directly, the rest of the members will be chosen from the trials which will see the participation of shuttlers ranked between 16 to 50 in the latest world rankings, released on March 29. It meant double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu (World No. 7), world championships silver and bronze medallists Kidambi Srikanth (World No. 12) and Lakshya Sen (World No. 9) and men’s pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (World No. 7) are the only ones assured of a place in the teams for the big-ticket events.
Among others, London Games bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, currently ranked 23rd, and Tokyo Olympian B Sai Praneeth, who is ranked 19th, will have to go through the trials. The Commonwealth Games squad will consist of 10 members with equal number of men and women, while the Asian Games and Thomas and Uber Cup teams will have 20 members each, including 10 men and 10 women.
Thomas Cup and Uber Cup are scheduled in Bangkok from May 8 to 15, while Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are slated in Birmingham and Hangzhou, China, from July 28 and September 10 respectively. According to the BAI release, “Players, who are ranked in the Top-16 in singles and Top-8 in doubles in national rankings, based on the domestic performances in the senior ranking tournaments played in Chennai and Hyderabad, and the core group players selected by the BAI selection committee/SAI in 2019 will also be included for the selection trials,”
The national body, however, said that “players who have notable performances at the international circuit in the last three months will be selected directly alongside those ranked in the Top-15 in the world. “…While the vacant spots will be filled based on performances of the selection trials as they will be eligible for BAI/SAI assistance for training and competition.”
Former World No. 10 player H S Prannoy has been impressive in the last few months as he reached the final at the 2022 Swiss Open Super 300 tournament, besides a series of quarterfinal finishes to reach the 23rd spot in the latest chart. Women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand also had reached the semifinals of the All England Championships last month, while Kiran George, Unnati Hooda had claimed the Odisha Open Super 100 titles in January.
BAI will also conduct trials for the junior players. The players for the selection trials will be chosen based on the performances of the upcoming U-19 ranking tournament to be held in Bangalore. The dates of the selection trials will clash with the Korean Masters, scheduled from April 12-17.
However, BAI has said that it will “withdraw entries of its players from the Super 300 tournament and settle the withdrawal fine amount so that shuttlers can participate in the trials.”