BAI Selection Trials: Aakarshi, Priyanshu emerge winners in singles; Ashwini-Sumeeth win mixed doubles
Aakarshi Kashyap and Priyanshu Rajawat are set to be picked for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Asian Games
Aakarshi Kashyap and Priyanshu Rajawat are all set to be picked for the upcoming Commonwealth and Asian Games respectively after winning the women's and men's singles events at the Badminton Association of India's (BAI) selection trials on Wednesday.
While Aakarshi prevailed over Ashmita Chaliha 21-10 17-21 21-15, Priyanshu saw off Odisha Open winner Kiran George 21-15 18-21 21-10 to top the rankings at the national trials at the IG Stadium Complex . While Aakarshi, who stayed unbeaten in the tournament, is set to join double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu in the CWG team as the second women's singles player, Priyanshu will get a chance to represent the country at the Asian Games and Thomas Cup.
With Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth given direct selection due to their top 15 world ranking, Priyanshu, however, won't get a place in the CWG team. Priyanshu has been in good form, losing just one match in the entire event at Stage 2B to Sai Charan Koya. Priyanshu, Kiran, Ravi and Sameer Verma emerged as the men's singles players ranked 1 to 4 in the trials, while Aakarshi was followed by Ashmita, Unnati Hooda and Aditi Bhatt in women's singles. The top three women's singles players will get a chance to represent the country as three positions are available for the Asian Games and Uber Cup teams.
In mixed doubles, B Sumeeth Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa staved off challenge from Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto 11-21 22-20 21-18 to grab the top position. The duo are likely to be picked for all the three major events. Ishaan and Tanisha finished second, followed by Pratik Ranade and Akshaya Warnag, and N Sikki Reddy and K Sai Pratheek. According to the selection procedure of the BAI, the winner of the mixed doubles will be selected for the third slot in the CWG team.
In women's doubles, All England semifinalists Tressa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand thrashed Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini and Sikki 21-10 21-7 in just 28 minutes to grab the top position, which should seal their place in the CWG team. While both the pairs are assured of berths in the Asian Games and Uber Cup teams where three positions are up for grabs, for CWG, only the winner will be picked. Tanisha and Shruti Mishra beat Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker 21-16 21-12 to finish in the third position.
Fast-rising men's doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila also finished on top. The duo first beat Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy 21-6 25-23 and later K Sai Pratheek retired following an injury, paving their way to the top. However, Dhruv and Arjun will not be picked for CWG, which has only one place for men's doubles and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty has already been handed a direct selection, owing to their world no 7 ranking. Krishna Prasad G and Vishnuvardhan Goud P produced a gallant effort to outwit Manu and Sumeeth 15-21 21-14 21-13 to sign off at the second position, while Ishaan and Sai Pratheek finished fourth. According to the BAI selection policy, the top two men's pairs will be picked for Asian Games and Thomas Cup.