BAI Selection Trials: George, Priyanshu & Aakarshi, Ashmita lead race for top position
The national trials are being conducted to pick the team for the upcoming Thomas & Uber Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games
Former world No. 11 Sameer Verma pulled out following a back injury as Kiran George and Priyanshu Rajawat remained in contention for the pole position in men's singles on day 4 of BAI's selection trials on Monday. In women's singles, Aakarshi Kashyap and Ashmita Chaliha took the lead in the fight for 1 to 4 position after claiming easy wins over their respective opponents at the K. D. Jadhav Hall inside Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex.
The national trials are being conducted to pick the team for the upcoming Thomas & Uber Cup (May 8-15, Bangkok), Commonwealth Games (July 28-August 8, Birmingham) and Asian Games (Hangzhou, September 10-25).
While Odisha Open champion George defeated Ravi 21-9 21-15, Priyanshu got a walkover from Sameer, whose decision to withdraw has made it a three-way battle for 1 to 4 position. While Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth have already booked their tickets due to their top 15 world ranking, one position is still up for grabs for the Thomas Cup and Asian Games.
For Aakarshi, it was an easy outing as she beat Aditi Bhatt 21-15 21-13, while Ashmita prevailed 21-13 21-16 over Unnati Hooda. The winner of the trials in the women's singles will be selected as the second player for the CWG team, while three positions are available for the Uber Cup and Asian Games teams.
In women's doubles, Commonwealth Games bronze medallists N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa and All England Championships semi-finalists Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand topped their respective women's doubles groups to stay in contention for the top ranking.
Sikki and Ashwini beat Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker 21-15 21-15 to notch up their third win in Stage 2A, while Treesa and Gayatri survived a scare against Mehreen Riza and Shailja Shukla 16-21 21-18 26-24 to complete a hat-trick of victories in Stage 2B. Tanisha Crasto and Shruti Mishra finished second in Stage 2B, while Simran and Ritika secured the second spot in Stage 2A.
The duo along with the winners of the two groups will now play for positions 1 to 4. The winner of the women's doubles will be selected for the Commonwealth Games, while three positions will be up for grabs for the Asian Games and Uber Cup.
With Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty already selected, owing to their world number 7 ranking, only one position will be filled up from the trials for CWG team. However, two men's pairs will be picked for Asian Games and Thomas Cup.
MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, and Ishaan Bhatnagar and K Sai Pratheek are the two men's doubles pairs who topped their respective Stage 2A and Stage 2B groups. Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, and Krishna Prasad G and Vishnuvardhan Goud P finished second best in their group and the two pairs along with the toppers will compete for 1 to 4 positions next.
Ashwini and Sikki also emerged as winners of stage 2A and stage 2B in mixed doubles with their partners Sumeeth and Sai Pratheek respectively. Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto, and Pratik Ranade and Akshaya Warang are the two pairs which finished second in stage 2A and Stage 2B respectively to stay in contention for positions 1 to 4.
The winner of the mixed doubles will be selected for the third position in CWG.