Top stars for Indian Open badminton

March 14th, 2008 - 10:39 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) World’s top shuttlers will be in Hyderabad for the $120,000 Yonex Sunrise Indian Open Grand Prix from April 1-6 as it is going to be an Olympic qualifying tournament. India will be hosting a Grand Prix badminton event for the first time and the tournament will carry Olympic qualifying points.

“The International Badminton federation has given the Hyderabad tournament the status of Olympic qualifiers, the 11th tournament to carry qualification points,” V.K. Verma, Badminton Association of India president, told reporters at the launch of the event.

Some 230 players from 27 countries, including badminton powerhouses China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Korea, will be taking part in the six-day event.

In the women’s singles, top three in the world, Xie Xing Fang, Zhang Ning and Zhu Lin, all from China, will participate. The men’s draw will have Chinese players Bao Chunlai, Chen Jin and Chen Yu, ranked third, fourth and ninth respectively.

“It is a huge opportunity for the Indian players. Our players will have the home advantage. We have been doing well at the international level for the past few years and this is their chance to garner some good points,” he said.

Anup Sridar and Saina Nehwal will qualify for the Beijing Olympics provided they retain their present world rankings. The women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Shruti Kurian have a strong chance to qualify for the Olympics.

“This tournament would serve as the best opportunity for the Indian players to qualify for the Olympics,” Verma said.

“We have also asked IBF to make the Hyderabad tournament a Super Series event by raising their number from 12 to 14.”

Verma also said that the shuttlecocks issue has been sorted out as the government has agreed to get them imported provided they are kept in quarantine for three weeks.

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