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06 Sep, 2021
The Badminton Association of India has named a 12-member squad for the upcoming Sudirman Cup in Finland, as well as the squads for the Thomas & Uber Cup in Denmark in the month of October. Star shuttler PV Sindhu decided to opt out of the tournaments and made herself unavailable for selection.
Sindhu, who won her second Olympic medal in Tokyo, is yet to resume training following the Olympics and thus decided not to participate in the two prestigious team events. Continuing her recovery, she is currently on a family break and is expected to resume training shortly afterwards.
Also missing from the Sudirman Cup would be London 2012 Bronze Medalist Saina Nehwal, but she has made herself available for the Thomas & Uber Cup.
For Sudirman Cup, the BAI announced a 13-member squad including the likes of B Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth for men’s singles; Satwik Sairaj, Chirag Shetty, Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun for the men’s doubles. The women’s singles field will have a rather inexperienced look, with Malvika Bansod and Aditi Bhatt taking over the mantle in the absence of more senior members, while the women’s doubles will feature Sikki Reddy/Ashwini Ponnappa, as well as Rutaparna Panda/Tanisha Crasto.
The tournament kicks-off on the 26th of September and India are placed in Group A along with defending champions China, hosts Finland, and strong favorites Thailand.
For the Thomas & Uber Cup, the men’s team includes Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth, Kiran George and Sameer Verma for the singles, while Satwik/Chirag, Dhruv/Arjun, and Krishna Prasad/Vishnu Vardhan will feature in the doubles. The women’s team, meanwhile, will be headlined by Saina Nehwal with Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt and Tasnim Mir also available for the singles duties. For the women’s doubles Sikki/Ashwini, Panda/Crasto and Gayatri/Tressa Jolly made the cut.
The teams for the two tournaments were selected on the basis of the player performances in the recently held trials at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad, while those in the top-20 world rankings were given an automatic entry.
Speaking on the sidelines of the selection, BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania said that in the absence of any tournaments over the last year and half, the selection trials gave the selectors valuable insights to make the selection.
“Other than the top-ranked Indians, we have selected players on the basis of their consistent show in the trials. In the absence of any tournaments, the trials and the new format helped us to zero in on the current in-form players as they have proved their abilities and have earned top rankings in the trials,” he said.
Shri Singhania also expressed confidence that the youngsters alongside the more experienced members of the squad will be able to put a confident show in the prestigious tournaments and will learn from being part of the Indian team set-up