After the high of the Senior Nationals, attention on the domestic badminton circuit shifts towards the country’s most promising juniors. While the Nagpur nationals piggybacked on international stars, Chandigarh’s Panjab University Indoor Stadium will have the chance to take a look at the fresh stars bounding out of academies from all over India for the 26th Smt. Krishna Khaitan Memorial All India Junior Ranking Prize Money Badminton tournament from13-19 November.
Purwa Barve, Amolika Singh, Unnati Bisht, Kanika Kanwal, Aswini Bhat and Malvika Bansod are some of the exciting names in the Girls U 19 section, while Ritika Thaker and Gayatri Gopichand will aim for the U 17 title in what is a jostle of the juniors for top honours of the Rs 3 lakh-prize money tournament.
Jaswanth D, Kiran George, Abhishek Saini and Adithya BG top the seedings in Boys U19, while fast-rising Dhruv Rawat, Sathish Kumar, Amit Rathore and Mohit Gory among others to fend off for the U17 Boys singles honours.
Doubles promising talent Rutuparna Panda who shone at the Senior Nationals, will be seen in action in the mixed doubles U19 event with Shri Krishna Podile.
Panjab University Indoor Stadium consists six Badminton Courts, Qualifying matches of Girls will be played at Panjab University and Boys Matches will be played at Badminton Hall, Sector 43, Chandigarh where we have 7 courts. Main draw matches will be played at Panjab University, Sector 14, Chandigarh.
With the growing popularity of badminton, 1600 entries have been received for this tournament – popular with the juniors. Performance in this tournament is also considered for the selection in Indian Team to participate in international events.
Simran Singhi, Ritika Thaker, Shruti Mishra and Samriddhi Singh will be the names to look forward to in the girls doubles, while Sourabh Kerhalkar, Deep Rambhiya, Vishnuvardhan Goud P – Sri Krishna Sai Kumar Podile are pairings that could stake claim to the boys U19 crown. There is encouraging participation from Manipur with Manjit Singh Khwairakpam-Dingku Sing Konthoujam featuring in the U19 doubles draw.
Junior rankings tournaments are crucial for the growth of the game which sees great depth in seniors at the international level, but the country needs a continuous stream of talent to come through in the coming years if India wants to maintain its momentum. The Krishna Khaitan Memorial has been promoting juniors badminton through the Express Shuttle club for over two decades now, and completes a decade of its presence in Chandigarh.
The presence of Gayatri Gopichand at this tournament will pit her against some of the other promising juniors and the 14-year-old will be tested in the U17 section after her return from the World Juniors. Those like Malvika Bansod and Purwa Barve would want to cement their positions as the country’s premier juniors.
However it is an excellent opportunity for doubles pairings now that India is looking to extend its success from singles into doubles. Paired events at the junior level have the potential to identify those that can be groomed for the next level of competition and the combines here will seek to impress in the city that’s hometown to India’s best mixed doubles player Pranav Chopda.