National ranking tournaments till March 2022 to be considered as selection events for trials: BAI
The sport's governing body in the country also said that "the player's participation in the upcoming senior and junior tournaments is mandatory."
All the national ranking tournaments till March next year will be considered as selection events for trials for participation in the international competitions, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) said.
The sport's governing body in the country also said that "the player's participation in the upcoming senior and junior tournaments is mandatory" and it will "evaluate the performance of all players every six months based on their performance in national/international ranking tournaments."
The domestic badminton season will start with two All India senior ranking tournaments in December after a gap of almost 20 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two senior ranking tournaments in Chennai and Hyderabad respectively will be followed by junior tournaments for U-15, U-17 and U-19 meet in Panchkula in January next year. The third senior ranking event will be held in Chhattisgarh in March 2022.
"The player's participation in the upcoming senior and junior tournaments is mandatory and their performance will be considered ahead of the trials for the inclusion of shuttlers for Senior and Junior National Coaching Camp, for participation in BWF International Tournaments and finalization of Tops Elite and Development Groups," BAI said in a release.
BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania, however, said there will be some exemptions for the elite-level players. "We have made exemptions for the top players in the past and there will be some exemptions for the top BWF ranked players this time too," he told PTI. There are a number of big-ticket international tournaments lined up next year, including the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. Singhania said the decision was taken with an eye on building the next generation of players.
"Because of the pandemic domestic badminton could not take off for almost 20 months and gauging the performance of players based on National and International ranking alone don't seem to be the best fit in the current circumstances," he said. "Our objective is to conduct transparent tournaments and trials and ensure a proper evaluation of players' performance and their fitness levels are reviewed every six month, so that, fresh and deserving talents also get opportunities to be part of the camp as well as the TOPs list of players."
BAI said it would also "create a reserve list of elite and junior players who can be prepared subsequently with an eye on creating bench strength as well as replacement to the main list of shuttlers if needed."
In the letter issued to secretaries of all affiliated units, BAI had proposed to hold selection trials for the top-performing players in the domestic events and also consider some players depending on their BWF ranking.
"The top sixteen (16) singles players (men & women) and top eight (8) doubles pairs (men & women) selected from the above-mentioned Senior and Junior Ranking Tournaments respectively," it had said.
"Players ranked between 26 to 50 in the BWF Senior World Ranking (men and women), and players ranked up to #20 in BWF Junior World Ranking (men and women) in all categories as of the date of the selection trials. In addition, any of the 58 players (Men and Women) who had been selected by BAI/SAI at the end of 2019 who may not qualify for the trials vide the above 2 categories will also be included for participation in the selection trials."
BAI had conducted selection trials for Sudirman Cup and Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in August where more than 100 junior and senior players had participated.
BAI, however, had directly selected top players such as P V Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, B Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth and men's pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.