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14-year-old Unnati Hooda makes it to Indian team as BAI selects contingents for CWG, Asiad, Thomas-Uber Cup

14-year-old Unnati Hooda will be part of the Indian team for the Uber Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. (Pic credit: BAI)
14-year-old Unnati Hooda will be part of the Indian team for the Uber Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. (Pic credit: BAI)
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Suhas Nayse

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Thursday announced strong Indian contingents to participate in the upcoming Thomas & Uber Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

The teams were declared following six days of high-voltage competition and nail-biting action in the selection trials at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi.

For the Commonwealth Games, the men’s team consists of Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty and B Sumeeth Reddy.

Double Olympic medalist PV Sindhu will lead the women’s squad which includes Aakarshi Kashyap, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri Gopichand and Ashwini Ponnappa.

Sumeeth Reddy and Ponnappa made the cut for the men’s and women’s squads, respectively, for the Commonwealth Games after finishing first in the mixed doubles category.

Aakarshi Kashyap emerged on top in the women's singles during the selection trials. (Pic credit: BAI)
Aakarshi Kashyap emerged on top in the women's singles during the selection trials. (Pic credit: BAI)

Unnati Hooda became the youngest to represent India at the Asian Games

The 14-year-old teenage sensation from Rohtak, Unnati Hooda, definitely caught selectors’ eyes. She secured a place for the Asian Games as well as the Uber Cup.

The rising shuttler finished third in the women’s singles behind Aakarshi Kashyap and Ashmita Chaliha, who claimed first and second positions respectively. Hooda is the youngest Indian badminton player to be part of the Asian Games squad.

Treesa Jolly (L) and Gayatri Gopichand established themselves as the best women's doubles pair in the country. (Pic credit: BAI)
Treesa Jolly (L) and Gayatri Gopichand established themselves as the best women's doubles pair in the country. (Pic credit: BAI)

Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand and two more women’s doubles pairs for Uber Cup

A 10-member women’s team for the Asian Games and Uber Cup will consist of PV Sindhu, Aakarshi Kashyap, Chaliha, and Hooda alongside the top-three doubles pairs from the trials.

Unbeaten in the trials, Treesa Jolly-Gayatri P, N Sikki Reddy-Ashwini Ponappa and Tanisha Crasto-Shruti Mishra made it to the squad.

Priyanshu Rajawat clinched a place in the Indian team by emerging men's singles winner during the trials. (Pic credit: BAI)
Priyanshu Rajawat clinched a place in the Indian team by emerging men's singles winner during the trials. (Pic credit: BAI)

Sindhu, Lakshya, Srikanth, Satwik-Chirag and Prannoy get direct entries: BAI

Sindhu, Lakshya Sen, Srikanth and men’s doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were awarded direct entry into the squads by virtue of being ranked within the top 15 in the world.

In-form shuttler HS Prannoy has also been included as part of automatic selection for his consistently impressive recent form on the international circuit.

Priyanshu Rajawat, who claimed the top spot in the men’s singles category, also made his way into the 10-men contingent for the Asian Games and Thomas Cup. Priyanshu will join his senior compatriots Sen, Srikanth and Prannoy in the side. The team also has Satwiksairaj and Shetty and the top-two doubles pairs from the trials, namely Dhruv Kapila-MR Arjun and Vishnu Vardhan Goud-Krishna Prasad Garaga.

Sanjay Mishra, General Secretary of BAI, said on Thursday:

“We are delighted with the energy of the selection trials. All the players gave everything on the court to earn themselves a chance to represent the country. It’s great to see high-quality competition for these positions. I congratulate all the players and wish them good luck in their preparations for mega events.”

The selection meeting took place late on Wednesday night after the completion of all the matches in the trials.

Mishra added:

“This new format for the trials was developed to provide a platform where the senior as well as young players can have opportunities and now you can see the squads are a great mix of youth and experience. I am sure each of them will make the most of this opportunity and make India proud.”

The trials saw the participation of 120 players in five categories. The league-cum-round robin format tested the ability of the players at each stage from April 15 to 20.

40 players inducted into the core group: BAI

Apart from the squads for the three major tournaments which are to be held this year, the BAI also finalized the names of 40 players (20 men and 20 women) for the senior national coaching camp. These 40 players will also form a core group for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, based on players’ positions in trials.

The 32nd edition of the Thomas Cup and 29th Uber Cup are scheduled in Bangkok from May 8 to 15.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will begin in Birmingham on July 28, while the 2022 Asian Games will kick start in Hangzhou on September 10.

INDIAN SQUADS

Commonwealth Games

Men: Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty and B Sumeeth Reddy

Women: PV Sindhu, Aakarshi Kashyap, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri P, Ashwini Ponappa.

Asian Games and Thomas & Uber Cup

Men: Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Priyanshu Rajawat, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Dhruv Kapila, MR Arjun, Vishnu Vardhan Goud, Krishna Prasad Garaga.

Women: PV Sindhu, Aakarshi Kashyap, Ashmita Chaliha, Unnati Hooda, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri P, N Sikki Reddy, Ashwini Ponnappa, Tanisha Crasto, Shruti Mishra.


Edited by Puranjay Dixit
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