Bengaluru: The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has decided that all players ranked in top 50 in the BWF World Rankings will get direct entry into quarter-finals of the upcoming National Championship, which for the first time will be Rs 1 crore prize money event.
This will effectively mean that country's top shuttlers like World Championship silver medallist PV Sindhu (world No 2), bronze medallist Saina Nehwal (world No 12) will only be seen in action from the last eight stage. Ditto for the likes of Kidambi Srikanth (No 8), HS Prannoy (no 15), B Sai Praneeth (No 17), Sameer Verma (No 19) and Ajay Jayaram (No 20) in the men's section.
BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “It will be mandatory for all the top ranked players to participate in the event. Those players who are in the world top-50, would get a direct entry into quarterfinals. However it will be limited to a maximum of eight slots out of a total of 16.”
Sarma also announced scholarships for the upcoming players. “Most of the times, good talented players drop out of the game due to financial constraints. Hence to support such players, we will be providing a scholarship of Rs 25,000-50,000 per month for about 20 juniors to begin with, and take the number upto 100.”