BAI’s selection trials: Praneeth, George, Aakarshi and Malvika continue winning run Badminton News

NEW DELHI: World No. 19 B Sai Praneeth continued his unbeaten run as he defeated Sourabh Verma in the stage 2 A men’s singles group at BAI’s selection trials for the upcoming major international team events here on Saturday.
Praneeth, 2017 Singapore Open champion, saw off national champion Verma 21-14 15-21 21-13 in a thrilling match at the KD Jadhav Hall inside Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex.
The Hyderabad shuttler will next take on Kiran George and Ansal Yadav, who also crossed the preliminary round and are clubbed in stage 2 A group, out of which the topper will play for rank 1 to 4 in a round-robin format.
In another stage 2 A match, George beat Ansal Yadav 21-10 21-9 to also stay in contention for the top position.
Sameer Verma and Raghu M also notched up wins in stage 2D on the second day of the six-day trials.
While Sameer beat Mithun Manjunath 21-14 21-10, Raghu edged out Maisnam Meiraba 21-14 12-21 21-17 in 51 minutes.
In stage 2 B, Kartikey Gulshan Kumar got the better of Sai Charan Koya 21-16 21-9, while Priyanshu Rajawat defeated Sathish Kumar K 21-16 21-15 in 40 minutes.
Alap Mishra trounced Arjun Rehani 21-11 21-13, while Ravi beat Shreyansh Jaiswal 21-19 21-10 in stage 2 C.
In women’s singles, Aakarshi Kashyap staved off a valiant effort from Tanya Hemanth to win 21-18 12-21 21-14 in an hour and nine minutes in stage 2 A, while Malvika Bansod beat Nivetha M 21-14 21-16 in stage. 2 B.
In stage 2 C, Aditi Bhatt thrashed Kavipriya S 21-14 21-11, while Odisha Open champion Unnati Hooda prevailed over Tara Shah 20-22 21-17 21-9 in 42 minutes.
In other results, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand topped group B to qualify for the second stage, while N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa topped group A to enter the next round.
Gayatri, along with Dhruv Kapila, topped group C of mixed doubles to progress to the next stage.
The national trials are being conducted to pick the team for the upcoming Thomas & Uber Cup (May 8-15, Bangkok), Commonwealth Games (July 28-August 8, Birmingham) and Asian Games (Hangzhou, September 10-25).
Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, and PV Sindhu, alongside the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, have been named as the automatic selection as they are ranked inside the top 15.
World number 23 HS Prannoy has also been picked due to his recent form which saw him reach the finals of Swiss Open Super 300.
However, two-time Commonwealth Games champion Saina Nehwal, ranked 23, was not considered for direct selection as she hasn’t been in the best of form, having made a series of first-round exits in the last few months.
The India ace had informed BAI about her decision to skip the trials and also slammed the association for not responding to her mail, besides questioning the logic of conducting the trials.
The BAI is also to pick the core group from the trials – eight singles players in men and women category, six pairs each from men’s doubles, women’s doubles and four mixed doubles combinations.

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