New Delhi, December 17 Putting Delhi on the itinerary of top players, a new annual feature has been added to the Badminton Association of India’s calendar. As if to celebrate it, the event is offering the biggest-ever prize money with even the qualifiers benefiting to a large extent. The event boasts of a Rs 9 lakh prize pool — the first in the history of Indian badminton — and it makes a heady mixture giving the sport in the Capital a new fillip.
With elite names like Anup Sridhar, Chetan Anand, Saina Nehwal and Jwala Gutta already making the entry list heavy, the first edition of the Pramod Mahajan All-India Senior Ranking Badminton tournament will be held at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here between January 1 and 6.
Addressing the media on behalf of the Pramod Mahajan Club (PMC), its club-captain and former India cricketer Kirti Azad said that 350 players will battle it out in the qualifying rounds — to be held on January 1 and 2 — to make the main draw grade.
There are events in men’s and women’s singles and doubles, with both singles winners getting Rs 1.1 lakh each in prize and the doubles teams walking away with Rs 60,000 each.
Speaking at the announcement of the tournament, SP Singh, vice-president, Delhi Badminton Association said that the event had already been confirmed on next year’s BAI calendar too and as one of the ranking events, would hold importance when team selection for Thomas and Uber Cup comes up.
Azad also said that top quality Yonex AS-40 shuttles would be used for all main draw matches, ensuring play quality is not compromised on.
The organisers are also using the opportunity to honour some of the legendary shuttlers including Nandu Natekar, All-England champions Prakash Padukone and Pulella Gopichand. Besides, the organisers have also extended invitations to former world billards champion Michael Ferreira and some former India cricketers.
Club patron Sudhanshu Mittal also said that they would be happy to host future international tournament with “substantial” prize money to promote the game. “We have already approached BAI towards this endeavour and hopefully we’ll get a positive response,” he said.