Players happy with BAI's renewed policies

Shikha Gautam, last year's runner-up at the senior national-ranking tournament, is delighted with BAI's new policy for the squad selection

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There is a spring in Shikha Gautam’s step as she surveys the qualifying action in the Yonex-Sunrise Mathrubhumi senior National-ranking badminton tournament at the V.K.K. Menon indoor stadium here.

There is a change in the Badminton Association of India’s selection policy for major international tournaments this year. While two fixed tournaments decided the Indian team earlier, BAI Secretary-Events Omar Rashid revealed on Wednesday that the national federation will now be picking its squad from two ranking tournaments preceding every major.

“This new policy is surely better and since they are informing us about it earlier, it is very good. This will surely motivate us and we can prepare well for these tournaments,” Shikha, the women’s runner-up at the senior national-ranking tournament in Kochi last year, told Sportstar.

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This tournament, which was played under the Malayalam Manorama banner in its first few editions, has now moved to Kozhikode with Mathrubhumi coming in as the new title sponsor.

Coming back to the tournament, UP’s Ansal Yadav has been given the top billing in the men’s section here while Railway’s Kanika Kanwal is the women’s top seed.

The main round matches begin on Thursday.