The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has decided that all players ranked in top 50 in the BWF World Rankings will get direct entry into quarter- finals of the upcoming National Championship, which for the first time will be Rs. 1 crore prize money event.
This will effectively mean that country's top shuttlers like World Championship silver medallist PV Sindhu (world No 2), bronze medallist Saina Nehwal (world No 12) will only be seen in action from the last eight stage.
Ditto for the likes of Kidambi Srikanth (No 8), HS Prannoy (no 15), B Sai Praneeth (No 17), Sameer Verma (No 19) and Ajay Jayaram (No 20) in the men's section.
BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma said: "It will be mandatory for all the top ranked players to participate in the event. Those players who are in the world top-50, would get a direct entry into quarterfinals. However it will be limited to a maximum of eight slots out of a total of 16."
Sarma also announced scholarships for the upcoming players, who are facing financial constraints.
"Most of the times, good talented players drop out of the game due to financial constraints. Hence to support such players, we will be providing a scholarship of Rs 25,000- 50,000 per month for about 20 juniors to begin with, and take the number upto 100."
Sarma also said that BAI will be dealing with any kind of age-fraud in a tough manner.
"We want to erase this over-age issue by conducting the tests well before the season so that no one should undergo the mental trauma during a tournament or a camp. If a player is found overage, we will put him/her in the next category as we think the parents are the culprits rather than the players themselves," he concluded.
Indian Squad for Asian Junior Championship:
Boys U-17: Meirab Maisram, Dhruv Rawat, Iman Sonowal, Aakash Yadav, Amit Rathore, Sathish Kumar, Edwin Joy, Arvind V Suresh, Vishnuvardhan Goud, Ishan Bhatnagar, Khush Chug.
Boys U-15: Sidhant Gupta, Ayush Raj Gupta, Punshiba Yengkhom, Jayant Rana, Varun Kapur, Vikas Yadav, Arshad Shaik, Shubham Patel, Sanjeev Rao, Khajamoinuddin Shaik.
Girls U-17: Gayatri Gopichand, Akarshi Kashyap, Unnati Bisht, Malvika Bansode, Ritika Thakkar, Samiya Imad Farooqui, Varshini VS, Sahiti Suresh, Kavi Priya, Keyura Mopati.
Girls U-15: Sneha Rajwan, Ashi Rawat, Kriti Bhardwaj, Treesa Jolly, Reza Mehreen, Tanya Hemant, Aditi Bhatt.