Asian Games 2018: Gayatri Gopichand, Sourabh Verma make the cut as BAI announces squad
Gayatri Gopichand, daughter of chief coach Pullela Gopichand, made the cut for the Asian Games, to be held in Jakarta in August, as the Badminton Association of India (BAI) announced a 20-member strong squad for the upcoming event.
Seven of the 20 shuttlers were selected on the basis of their performances at the two selection tournaments in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The men's team will be led by World No. 7 and Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Kidambi Srikanth while PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will spearhead the women's team.
In the women's singles, only Sindhu and Saina were guaranteed a place. Sai Uttehitha Rao and Ashmita Chaliha were automatic choices, given their performances at the two tournaments. Gayatri and Aakarshi Kashyap -- both semi-finalists in Hyderabad -- were selected while Rituparna Das, who was the finalist in Bengaluru, missed out.
Accompanying Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy in women's doubles will be the new doubles pair of Rutaparna Panda and Arathi Sara Sunil, who won in Bengaluru and were semifinalists in Hyderabad
Elsewhere, in men's singles, there was only one spot was available. Sourabh Verma, who won in Bangalore and was the runner-up in Hyderabad, booked the spot while former Junior World No.1 Siril Verma missed out.
The young pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who created history in Gold Coast, will lead India's challenge in men's doubles. Seasoned campaigners Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, who have been in a good run of form recently, have also been named in the squad.
Here are the full squads:
Men's Team: Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma, Sourabh Verma, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Manu Attri, B Sumeeth Reddy, Pranaav Jerry Chopra.
Women's Team: PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, N Sikki Reddy, Ashwini Ponnappa, Sai Uttejitha Rao, Ashmita Chaliha, Rutaparna Panda, Aarthi Sara Sunil, Aakarshi Kashyap, Gayatri Gopichand.
The selection committee met on Monday in Bengaluru to select the shutters. According to a press release, the selectors bore in mind the consistency and fitness of the players over the last six months, as well report of coaches.
BAI President Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “The selection committee did a wonderful job in putting up the squad together. To keep the selection process fair and transparent, certain criteria were set by the selection panel with 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 were considered before finalising the names. I must say all the players who have been selected deserved a chance to represent the country. I would like to congratulate the players and wish them all the best for the games.”