Top seeds, Saina Nehwal and Chetan Anand, have an easy opening round in the Yonex Sunrise-India Open badminton tournament, a Grand Prix gold category event, at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here from June 9 to 13. This was announced during the draw ceremony on Friday.
Saina will take on Thilini Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka in the women's first round while Chetan has received a bye.
Ranked sixth in the world, Nehwal should have it easy against a player ranked 282 places below her. Jayasinghe, the first woman badminton player from her country to qualify for Olympics in Beijing, has gone down the rankings list in the last one year or so. Two years ago, she was ranked 82nd in the world.
Saina, in all likelihood, will take on compatriot and National champion Sayali Gokhale, seeded sixth, in the quarterfinals. Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia, with a world ranking of 14, is seeded second, Slovakia's Maja Tvrdy, fourth, and Fu Mingtian of Singapore, fifth, in the championship.
Wong takes on Indian Mudra Dhainje in the first round. The other seeded Indians are Aditi Mutatkar (3) and Trupti Murgunde (7). Four qualifiers will complete the women's draw of 32.
Chetan, the men's top seed, ranked 19 in the world, will clash with Mohit Kamat (he too has been given a bye) in the second round. Former All-England champion Hafiz Hashim Muhammad of Malaysia, the second seed, meets Indian Ajith Wijetilak — both have received a bye — in the second round.
Seedings three to eight comprise Indians — P. Kashyap, Aravind Bhat, Anup Sridhar, Anand Pawar, Guru Sai Dutt and Ajay Jayaram.
The men's and women's singles winner will receive $9600 and $8280 respectively and all the category winners and runners-up will get 7000 and 5950 BWF points.
Carrying a prize money of $1,20,000, the championship, said Ashok Bajaj, President, Tamil Nadu Badminton Association, has come to the city after a long time and hoped that it would become a huge success.
Bajaj further said everything hinges on the success of the tournament. “Whether similar tournaments would be held here in the future, I can't say. It depends on how this tournament is received,” he said.
Sanjay Sachdev, National junior coach, said the Indian senior (men and women) teams are going from strength to strength and their performance in the Thomas and Uber Cup (both reached the quarterfinals) held in Kuala Lumpur was ample proof.
K.Ch. Punnaiah Choudhary, in-charge Secretary, Badminton Federation of India, said this is a good opportunity for Indians to make optimum use of the depleted field and get valuable ranking points.
Vikram Dhar, Director, Yonex Sunrise, spoke about the role of his company over the years in promoting badminton from grass roots level.