Chennai: More than 1,000 young shuttlers will compete to bag top honours in the Microplex and Yonex Sunrise All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament starting tomorrow and conducted by the Tamil Nadu Badminton Association at Nehru Stadium.
For the first round, 32 junior girls and boys have qualified directly based on past performances. In the boys, girls and mixed doubles category eight players have qualified in each group.
The star attraction of the tournament is Gayatri, the 16-year-old daughter of India’s famous and most accomplished badminton coach, Pullela Gopichand. She will compete in the under-19 girls singles category and already shows promise of becoming the next big name in the sport.
But, the going will not be easy for her as there are many talented athletes in her category. One such person is Aakarshi Kashyap.
Gayathri and Aakarshi have represented the country in badminton tourneys inside Asia. Since Microplex and Yonex Sunrise All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament is a selection round for the upcoming Junior Asian Badminton Championship in China, a fierce competition is expected between them.
Others from the category, Malvika Bansod and Unnati Bisht, could also turn the match around on a given day.
In the under-19 boys singles category, Madhya Pradesh’s Priyanshu Rajawat has raised everyone’s expectations. The 17-year-old has earned a reputation of being a giant killer by taking down bigger and established names in the juniors circuit with his fast-paced attacks and counter-attacks.
Manipur’s Maisnam Meiraba is expected to be his challenger.
The other names to watch out for in the boys singles circuit is Sai Saran Goya, Sathish Kumar, and Aakash Yadav.
Talking about the tournament, Tamil Nadu Badminton Association secretary general, Ve Arunachalam, told mediapersons in Chennai today, “We will make sure that the tournament will be one of the better organised badminton championships in the country. We feel proud to conduct this tournament. I expect the public to come in large numbers and cheer the talent youngsters.”
Photo and video: A R Jayakumar