BAI selection trials: Sameer, Sourabh and Ashmita suffer setbacks on opening day

On the opening day of the six-day trials, most fancied players ensured their berths in the second stage of the league after finishing in the top-two in the three player league.

Badminton

Second seed Sameer Verma, his brother and third seed Sourabh Verma and women’s third seed Ashmita Chaliha received setbacks in the preliminary league phase of the BAI’s National selection trials for the upcoming international events on Friday. (Representational image)   -  Getty Images

Second seed Sameer Verma, his brother and third seed Sourabh Verma and women’s third seed Ashmita Chaliha received setbacks in the preliminary league phase of the BAI’s National selection trials for the upcoming international events on Friday.

On the opening day of the six-day trials at the K. D. Jadhav hall in the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex, most fancied players ensured their berths in the second stage of the league after finishing in the top-two in the three player league.

From Group B, Delhi’s Kartikey Gulshan Kumar booked his place in the second stage league by beating Sameer 10-21, 21-17, 21-14 and Siril Varma 21-17, 21-19. The winner of the match between Sameer and Siril will join Kartikey in the second stage.

In Group C, Madhya Pradesh’s Alap Mishra surprised Sourabh 21-17, 21-12 and then defeated Aditya Joshi 21-15, 21-11. Sourabh and Joshi will battle for the second qualifying spot.

 

In the women’s section, in Group C, Aditi Bhatt surprisingly advanced after beating Ashmita 14-21, 21-14, 21-15 and seasoned Neha Pandit 21-17, 8-21, 21-17. On Saturday, Ashmita and Neha will clash to decide the second qualifier from the group.

In all, across five sections, a group of around 60 players will be selected, including those identified as the Core Group probables for the 2024 Olympic Games.

With the BAI selection committee deciding to exempt those in the top-15 in world rankings from the trials, Lakshay Sen (9), K. Srikanth (12), P. V. Sindhu (7) and Satwik Sairaj-Chirag Shetty (7) are not required to go through the trials. In addition, the selectors also decided to give direct selection to World No. 23 H. S. Prannoy, based on his recent international performance.

However, women's World No. 23 Saina Nehwal was not found deserving to enjoy a similar exemption since she has failed to cross the second round of most international events this year. Saina has made no secret of her displeasure on the decision of the BAI.

These trials are primarily aimed at selecting the teams for the upcoming Thomas Cup and Uber Cup (May 8-15, Bangkok), Commonwealth Games (July 28-August 8, Birmingham) and Asian Games (Hangzhou, September 10-25).

For the Core Group, eight singles players in men and women sections, six pairs each from doubles for men and women, along with four mixed doubles combinations will make the cut.

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