New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand’s daughter Gayatri on Wednesday broke into the senior national side as the Badminton Association of India (BAI) named a strong 20-member squad spearheaded by World No.3 P.V. Sindhu and World No.7 Kidambi Srikanth for the upcoming Asian Games in August.
Besides Sindhu and Srikanth, the squad boasts of healthy experience in London bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and World No.13 H.S. Prannoy in both the women’s and men’s singles.
The squad, picked after the selectors met in Bengaluru on Wednesday, is a fine mix of experience and youth with the likes of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy leading the Indian challenge in men’s doubles.
Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa will be responsible for leading India’s charge in the women’s doubles section as part of the elite team selection.
The BAI selectors picked the remaining squad from the two recently-held senior ranking tournaments in Bangalore and Hyderabad, allowing the domestic players a chance to prove their quality and talent.
Besides Gayatri, the other six shuttlers picked from the competitions are: Sourabh Verma, Ashmita Chaliha, Sai Uttejitha Rao, Akarshi Kashyap, Rutuparna Panda and Aarthi Sara Sunil.
Congratulating the shuttlers, BAI President 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,” Sarma added.
The 18th edition of the Asian Games start August 18, with the badminton events running from August 19 to 28.
Men: Kidambi Srikanth, H.S. Prannoy, B.Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma, SatwikSairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, B. Sumeeth Reddy, Manu Attri, Pranaav Jerry Chopra, Sourabh Verma.
Women: P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, N.Sikki Reddy, Ashwini Ponnappa, Sai Uttejitha Rao, Ashmita Chaliha, Rutaparna Panda, Aarthi Sara Sunil, Aakarshi Kashyap, Gayathri Gopichand.