Aakarshi Kashyap, Priyanshu Rajawat take top spots in singles events

Aakarshi Kashyap clinched the top spot in women’s singles in the selection trials for upcoming big-ticket team events with a three-game win against Ashmita Chaliha on Wednesday at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.

Later, in men’s singles, Priyanshu Rajawat defeated Kiran George in three games to clinch the all-important top spot in men’s singles.

The selection trials to pick the teams for the upcoming Thomas & Uber Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games have been taking place in the capital in the past week.

Aakarshi finished the trials without a single defeat, pocketing seven wins out of seven, with the most decisive one coming against Ashmita on the final day. The Assamese left-hander came into this match with five wins out of six and with the winner guaranteed to take top spot, the match went the former’s way 21-10, 17-21, 21-15.

Haryana teenager Unnati Hooda, meanwhile, completed her impressive week with a third-place finish by defeating Aditi Bhatt in straight games. Aditi will take the fourth spot.

Only PV Sindhu was assured of a direct spot in the squads based on her world ranking and these trials will effectively be the deciding factor to determine the squads for upcoming team events. The No 2 ranked Indian in the BWF world rankings, Saina Nehwal is not part of these trials.

Aakarshi Kashyap’s results at the trials (Tournament software)

Later in the day, Priyanshu Rajawat, 20-year-old from MP, took on Kerala’s Kiran George to decide the top spot in men’s singles section. It was a crucial battle as three men’s singles players are already assured direct berths through the world rankings in Lakshya Sen, Srikanth Kidambi and HS Prannoy. Rajawat came out on top eventually in a three-game affair 21-15, 18-21, 21-10.

In mixed doubles, the top spot went to Ashwini Ponnappa and B Sumeeth Reddy who came back from a game down to defeat Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto in a thriller that saw emotions run high. Ashwini’s experience and calmness stood out in the final stages as she guided Sumeeth through the nervy climax to overcome the youngsters who were left heartbroken in the end, though they finished second.

The top spots in the other two doubles categories will also be decided during the final day’s action in New Delhi.

More to follow

Badminton: Trial system to select India squads for CWG, Asian Games explained

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