Top shuttlers HS Prannoy and Kidambi Srikanth will hog the limelight at the Yonex-Sunrise Inter State-Inter Zonal Championships and Senior National Championships, beginning here on Wednesday.
While double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and former world number 1 Saina Nehwal will give the event a miss, the nationals will have the presence of many top players including former world championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth.
The tournament, which is returning after a COVID-induced break of two years, will have an increased prize money of Rs 40 lakh for individual championships and Rs 10 lakh for the Inter State-Inter Zonal meet. The team championship will be played on February 22 and 23, while the individual event kicks off from February 24.
Prannoy and Srikanth, who played an important role in India’s epic Thomas Cup win, will face a stiff challenge from the likes of defending champion Sourabh Verma, his younger brother Sameer and Praneeth.
The challenge of the young brigade is likely to be shouldered by the likes of Mithun Manjunath, Kiran George and Priyanshu Rajawat as a total of 479 entries have been registered. The other stars set to vie for the coveted title include All England semi-finalist women’s doubles combination of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly, men’s doubles specialists Chirag Shetty, Dhruv Kapila, Krishna Prasad and Vishnuvardhan Goud.
“The popularity of the game is on an all-time high with the national team creating history by winning the Thomas Cup last year and then clinching India’s first-ever Badminton Asia Mixed Team medal earlier this month,” said Badminton Association of India secretary Sanjay Mishra.
“National championship provides a fantastic platform for upcoming players to challenge the established stars and unearth fresh talent.”
The men’s and women’s singles champions will take home a prize purse of Rs 3.25 lakh each with the doubles champions getting richer by Rs 3.45 lakh. The winning team in the Inter State-Inter Zonal meet will earn Rs 5 lakh.