Amidst the disappointing exit of star Indian players Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth from the BWF Superseries finals, the 8th edition of the TATA India International Challenge is being held here at Brabourne Stadium, Cricket Club of India, Mumbai (CCI) from 9th to 13th December 2015. The tournament, over the years, has been a launchpad of several domestic players to the international badminton.
This year, the top seeds participating in the men’s singles category are the Varma brothers, Joo Ven Soong from Malaysia and the experienced campaigner Anand Pawar. In the women’s category, the pool consisted of top seed Jing Y. Tee from Malaysia, Pornpawee Chochuwong from Thailand, Saili Rane, Tanvi Lad from India along with an array of players from the junior circuit in India.
In the semi-finals held on Saturday, the men singles saw the local favourites Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma from India triumph over their Malaysian rivals Joo Ven Soong and Lim Whi Ching in romping fashion. While Joo retired in the second set while trailing 11-21, 9-15, Sourabh beat Lim 21-16 21-13 in comprehensive fashion.
In the Women’s Singles Jing Y Tee and Pornpawee Chochuwong proceeded to the finals after Pornpawee defeated Indian hope Saili in a closely contested three setter 21-14, 18-21, and 21-12. In the mixed doubles final tomorrow it’s going to be an all – Indian affair as the pair of Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan, the clear favourites of the tournament reached the final. They will meet the young duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and K. Maneesha.
It is going to be an exciting final day on Sunday with the obvious crowd favourite matchup of men’s singles being the attraction of the day. Saurabh, the elder one and more experienced than Sameer is the favourite to win especially when he is the winner of this tournament two years back.
Though it would be foolish to write off Sameer for this contest especially when he is in a rich vein of form this year. Winner of the Radhey Shyam Gupta Memorial All India Senior Ranking Badminton tournament at Bareilly in August, the 20-year-old Sameer is making it count at the senior level. Let’s hope it fits to the billing of a top contest. May the best “brother” win!Published 13 Dec 2015, 10:33 IST