HYDERABAD: ‘The Rising Tiger,’ the official mascot of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open badminton championship for men and women, was formally unveiled by R. Damodar Reddy, Minister for Sports and Information Technology, here on Saturday.
The tournament will be the biggest ever prize money event with $1,50,000 at stake and will be held at the Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy Indoor Stadium from September 4 to 9.
Speaking on the occasion, Damodar Reddy said that the State Government was looking at this event as a very prestigious affair as some big names of World badminton would be in action.
“In view of the spectator interest (demands of bulk tickets have already come in from Bangalore, Patna and Maharahstra), we have decided to have gate money. The tickets will be priced at Rs.50 for gallery and Rs.100 for the chairs,” the Minister said.
There will also be season tickets of Rs.1000 each for a family of four and there will be free entry for school children and sportspersons, he added.
“We are also thankful to the title sponsor Yonex Sunrise and other co-sponsors Raheja Group, GMR, Airtel, Indian Airlines and Indian Oil,” the Minister said.
P. Gopi Chand said that the India Open was being organised essentially to give the Indian shuttlers a huge opportunity to play with some of the best in the business.
The top-seeded Chong Wei Lee of Malaysia will get a bye in the first round and will meet Guru Sai Dutt of India in the second round.
The women’s top seed, Lin Zhu of China, also gets a first round bye, Gopi said.
The 18-member Chinese team includes the women’s doubles World champions Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen along with Bao Chunli and Chen Yu, both semifinalists at the recent World championships.
India will have a 34-member squad, Gopi said.
The presence of reigning Olympic and former World champion, Taufik Hidayat, and World No.3, Lee Chong Wei, winner of the Indonesian Open this year, is bound to generate great interest, the Indian chief coach added.
The top seeds in men’s doubles will be the Indonesian pair of Chandra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan and the Indian challenge will be from Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar and V. Diju and Akshay Diwalkar.
Gopi felt that the magnificent run of Anup Sridhar in the recent World championships could not have come at a more appropriate time.
“Exactly for this reason, we feel that the India Open should be a great chance for shutlers like Sridhar, Chetan and Saina to give of their best against World-class players.
“The Indian camp will commence from August 27 at the same venue,” Gopi said.
The legendary Rudy Hartono will conduct a clinic for the players on August 31 as part of the efforts to promote the even.