GUWAHATI: Defending men’s champion Arvind Bhat of Petroleum and women’s champion Sayali Gokhale of Air India will be among the leading names at the 74th senior National badminton championship, which begins at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi indoor stadium near here from January 4.

The individual event will be preceded by the 65th inter-state championship for the seven zonal winners, who will be vying for top honours in the men’s and women’s sections.

The organiser, the Assam Badminton Association, announced on Wednesday that the women’s world No. 8 Saina Naehwal will be participating though the main draw entries made available does not include her name. The rest of the top names of the country will be seen in action in the individual singles and doubles events, which starts from Jan. 6, with the finals scheduled on Jan. 10.

The individual qualifiers will be held on January 2 and 3 before the team events. — Principal Correspondent

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