More than one thousand junior players will feature in the qualification draw of the 25th edition of the Smt. Krishna Khaitan Memorial All India Junior Ranking Prize Money Badminton Tournament that gets underway at the Panjab University Badminton Hall and Sector 42 Sports Complex on Monday .
The tournament, which saw Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu win the title in 2010, has attracted top-ranked junior players, including Lakshay Sen, Chirag Sen, Aakrshi Kashyap and Kiran George.
“It will be the 25th edition of the tournament and India’s top ranked junior players will be playing in the tournament. Lakshay, who won the bronze medal in the Asian Badminton Championship, apart from Kiran George of Kerala, who recently reached the finals of the Asian Championship, will play in the tournament. A total of 1,111 players will play in the qualifying round apart from 230 players in the main draw,” said Sanjiv Sachdeva, the tournament’s organising secretary. “In the past, players like PV Sindhu have won this title. The tournament will have a prize money of Rs 3 lakh and the qualification rounds will be played at PU and Sector 42 on a total of nine courts from October 10.”
The tournament, which is one of the biggest events for junior players in the country, is conducted by Express Shuttle Club Trust. Apart from Sindhu, even Saina Nehwal has played in it in the past. It is sanctioned by the Badminton Association of India (BAI). Tamil Nadu’s Mohammed Ali, nominated by BAI, will be the chief referee of the tournament.
The tournament will be played in singles (U-17 and U-19 boys and girls), doubles (U-17 and U-19 boys and girls) and mixed doubles categories. “The highest number of players in the main draw are in the U-17 category and more than 20 players from Chandigarh will take part in the tournament. Garima, Ishita and Abhishek are the leading players from Chandigarh,” said Surinder Mahajan, national coach and secretary, Chandigarh Badminton Association.
“The main draw matches will start on October 13 and the final will be played on October 16. All the referees are approved by BAI and there will be medical team present on all the days of tournament. Boarding facilities will be provided for the top seeds in main draw. Besides, all the main draw matches will be played on six courts,” Mahajan added.
The opening ceremony will witness the presence of Panchkula MLA and Minister of State from Haryana Gian Chand Gupta. The finals will be attended by Punjab governor and administrator, UT Chandigarh, VP Singh Badnore.
“Chandigarh has always provided a platform from top junior players from all over India and we are happy with the response to the tournament. As always, most of the top players are coming. BAI recently had Shuttle Badminton Programme in Delhi where more than 40 schools took part. We plan to bring this programme to Chandigarh in the coming year,” said TPS Puri, vice president (Adminstration), BAI.