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Indian badminton players to participate in training camp to prepare for Thomas and Uber Cup

New Delhi, May 3 (IANS): In their bid to prepare for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, the Indian badminton team will attend a special camp here from May 7 under chief national coach Pullela Gopichand.

The 30-member core group will train at the Siri Fort Sports Complex for the showpiece event that would be hosted by India for the first time May 18-25. Only 10 men and women each will be picked up later in the week.

“India are hosting the Thomas/Uber Cup Finals for the first time and we want to put our best foot forward. So we decided to make most of the home conditions and hold the camp in New Delhi itself so that the players would get acclimatised to the playing conditions and temperatures here,” Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Akhilesh Das Gupta said.

In the Thomas Cup (men’s), India have been grouped with Malaysia, Germany and South Korea while the women face Thailand, Canada and Hong Kong in Group C for the Uber Cup.

The contingent is aware that qualifying for the knockouts won’t be easy in the Thomas Cup. They are banking on the women to create history by reaching the last eight for the first time.

Indian women have managed to qualify for the tournament proper for only the second time in over four decades. They could reach the quarter-finals, given that India now boast of two top singles players – Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu.

The tie consists of three singles and two doubles rubbers.

Gopichand said that both the teams are upbeat about their prospects and look forward to putting up a grand show.

“I don’t want to predict where we will reach in the tournament at this stage. But I can promise you that the teams would give their best in every match to justify our rising status. We know it will be tough against higher ranked teams in the Thomas Cup but we assure you of a cent percent effort in group stages,” said the former All England champion.

Das Gupta also said that some of the top Asian teams have shown interest in holding a week-long camp here ahead of the tournament, given the strong competition.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) changed the rules of qualification from this year with the final 16 participating teams being decided on the basis of their rankings rather than through qualifying tournaments as in the past.

The core group:

Men: Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, R.M.V. Gurusaidutt, H.S. Prannoy, Anand Pawar, Arvind Bhat, Saurabh Verma, B. Sai Praneeth, Anup Sridhar, Akshay Dewalkar, Pranaav Jerry Chopra, B. Sumeeth Reddy, Manu Atri, Arun Vishnu and Alwyn Francis

Women: Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, Arundhati Pantawane, P.C. Thulasi, Rituparna Das, Sayali Gokhale, Tanvi Lad, Saili Rane, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, N. Sikki Reddy, Pradnya Gadre, Prajakta Sawant, Aarti Sara Sunil and Aparna Balan

Coaches: Pullela Gopichand, Madhumita Bisht, U. Vimal Kumar, Vijaydeep Singh, Dwi Kristiawan, Hendra Mulyono, Dhanu Utomo, Andhika Anhar.

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