BAI selection trials: Ritika Thaker-Simran Singhi, Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand make it to elite group

Simran Singhi (L) and Ritika Thaker won two out of three women's doubles league matches in the second stage to qualify for the elite group in New Delhi on Monday. (Pic credit: BAI)
Simran Singhi (L) and Ritika Thaker won two out of three women's doubles league matches in the second stage to qualify for the elite group in New Delhi on Monday. (Pic credit: BAI)

Ritika Thaker and Simran Singhi made it to the elite group in the ongoing BAI selection trials. The trials are being played at KD Jadhav Hall at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.

The young women’s doubles pair performed brilliantly to finish in the top-four in the six-day national selection trials, organized by the Badminton Association of India.

Teenage duo Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela also excelled in booking their place in the elite group of the top four.

After making it to the second league stage of the trials, the 2019 Under-19 girls doubles national champions Ritika and Simran won two out of three league ties. By winning a couple of important matches in the second stage, the young Maharashtra duo made the cut for the elite group.

Ritika Thaker and Simran Singhi faced their childhood idols Ashwini Ponnappa-Sikki Reddy

Ritika and Simran played their first match against Kavya Gupta and Khushi Gupta and defeated them in straight games 21-12, 21-19.

The duo rallied back splendidly to get the better of Vennala K and Shriyanshi Valishetty in three games in their second league outing. Maharashtra women’s doubles champions Ritika and Simran lost their first game but staged a remarkable recovery to post a thrilling 20-22, 21-15, 21-9 win. These two wins helped them secure a place in the elite group.

They got a chance to play against their childhood idols Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy. Ritika-Simran went down 15-21, 15-21 against their experienced rivals.

21-year-old Nagpur shuttler Ritika said on Monday:

“We are very happy to make it to the top four stage, which brightens our chances of making it to the Indian team for the various prestigious tournaments. I am thankful to my coach Ajay Dayal at Suchitra Badminton Academy, where I practiced with Simran, MBA, NDBA and Hislop College for the support.”

It was a dream come true for both Ritika and Simran when they played against World No. 20 pair Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy.

Simran said:

“In our young days, we used to dream of playing against Sikki and Ashwini. The hard work we put in gave results and we got a chance to compete against them. I am very happy with the result and we will put in all our efforts in the coming matches.”

The fourth pair to make it to the elite group are Tanisha Crasto and Shruti Mishra. Tanisha is playing for the first time with Mishra after Tanisha’s former partner Rutaparna Panda decided to play with her younger sister.

Kiran George and Priyanshu Rajawat qualify for men’s singles elite group

Finalists of the Odisha Open BWF World Tour Super 100 tournament Kiran George and Priyanshu Rajawat qualified for the men’s singles elite group. Ravi and Sameer Verma completed the top-four positions.

Aakarshi Kashyap, Ashmita Chaliha, Aditi Bhatt and Unnati Hooda made it to the top-four in the women’s singles.

The six-day trials are being conducted to pick the teams for the upcoming Thomas & Uber Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

A total of 120 players are participating in the five categories as the six-day long selection trials will go on until April 20. Coaches, parents and media are allowed to watch the matches from the gallery.

BAI will also select the core group of probable players for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. A group of 60 players will be selected through direct selection and trials.

Elite Group of Top 4 players after the league stages

Men’s singles

Kiran George

Priyanshu Rajawat


Sameer Verma

Women’s singles

Aakarshi Kashyap

Ashmita Chaliha

Aditi Bhatt

Unnati Hooda

Men’s doubles

Ishaan Bhatnagar - K Sai Pratheek

Manu Attri - B Sumeeth Reddy

MR Arjun - Dhruv Kapila

Krishna Prasad G - Vishnuvardhan Goud P

Women’s doubles

Treesa Jolly - Gayatri Gopichand Pullela

Simran Singhi - Ritika Thaker

Sikki Reddy N - Ashwini Ponnappa

Tanisha Crasto-Shruti Mishra

Mixed doubles

Sumeeth Reddy B - Ashwini Ponnappa

K Sai Pratheek - N Sikki Reddy

Ishaan Bhatnagar - Tanisha Crasto

Pratik Ranade - Akshaya Warang.

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Edited by Puranjay
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