Guwahati set to host senior badminton Nationals (Preview)
Guwahati, Feb 9: Top Indian shuttlers will descend upon Guwahati as the Assamese city is set to welcome the 83rd Senior National Badminton Championships 2018-19, starting on Tuesday.
This is the first time the prestigious Nationals is returning to the northeast, since Guwahati last hosted it in 2010 and is in tune with the Badminton Association of India's (BAI) tireless attempts to spread the sport to every corner of the country.
The badminton extravaganza will kick start with the 74th Inter State-Zonals, scheduled for on Sunday and Monday. It will be followed by the individual competition from Tuesday, the draw of which will be conducted on Monday.
The top 8 players, ranked below 50 in the BWF World Rankings in both men's and women's singles, will start directly from the pre-quarterfinals on completion of the Super Draw on Thursday.
In doubles, the top 4 teams within the top 50 will be placed in the quarter-finals. The singles draw will have 16 seeds, while the maximum number of seeds in the doubles section will be eight.
Defending champion Saina Nehwal and last edition's runner-up PV Sindhu will be the biggest attractions on the women's side.
Saina will aim to continue her good form after winning the Indonesia Masters as she sets her sights on conquering the Nationals for the fourth time.
Former champions Sameer Verma and Parupalli Kashyap will be leading the charge on the men's side. Youngster Lakshya Sen who made it to the semifinals in the previous edition will be eager to make an impact after a stunning season in juniors that saw him winning medals at the World Junior Championships, the Youth Olympics and the Asian Junior Championships.
The doubles category will see a host of rising talents getting a chance to battle it out with the best in the business.
Commenting on the prestigious tournament, BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma said: "Our goal has been to take the sports to all parts of the country to let sport enthusiasts watch stars and icons of the game in action. Hosting the Senior Nationals in Guwahati will be a great experience for the local players as well as fans. I wish the players and the officials a great success."
Saina too has been enthusiastic about the biggest domestic badminton event making its way back to the northeast. Having represented the North Eastern Warriors in the Premier Badminton League (PBL), the former World No. 1 has been keen to see the growth of the sport in the region.
"I have represented the North Eastern Warriors in PBL this season, however, we did not play in the northeast. With the senior Nationals being hosted in Guwahati it will be a great opportunity to play in front of the northeast fans and am looking forward to the Championship," said the London Olympics bronze medallist.