London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal will be the star attraction in Odisha Open Super 100, the state's first ever international tournament under Badminton World Federation, which begins in Cuttack from Tuesday.
Saina has been seeded first in the women's singles while P Kashyap is the top seed in men's singles of the tournament to be played at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium.
More than 300 players from 17 countries are participating in this tournament. The event begins with the qualifying round on Tuesday and will continue till January 30.
The tournament, a BWF event, is being organised jointly by the state sports and youth service department, Badminton Association of India and its Odisha unit. "It is a matter of pride for our state to host such a prestigious sports event," Odisha sports minister T K Behera said.
As the tournament is played as per the COVID-19 guidelines, no spectators will be allowed to enter the stadium. COVID-19 tests of all players, technical officials and volunteers have been conducted, after their arrival here. Only those found COVID-19 negative will be allowed to enter the stadium. The matches would be played in five categories -- men's singles, women's single, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.
"About 350 players from as many as 17 countries from across the world will participate in five events in this tournament, in which there has been a toral prize money of 75,000 US dollar," said Girish Nattu, deputy chief referee of the tournament.
"I am glad that organisers have made excellent arrangements to make this international badminton tournament a grand success and I am sure many more such tournament will come to Odisha in future days," Nattu added.