Kolkata: Tanisha Crasto, the 18-year-old Dubai-born shuttler who learnt her first ropes at the India Club, has made the cut among the doubles members as the Badminton Association of India (BAI) named strong Indian contingents for upcoming international events during the year.
Tanisha has been paired with Shruti Mishra for Asian Games and Uber Cups, while Unnati Hooda - a 14-year-old sensation from Rohtak - is a major surprise in the senior squads for the above events. The squads were announced after six days of nail-biting action in the selection trials at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi.
The men’s squad for Commonwealth Games, to be held in Birmingham from July 28-August 8, consists of Lakshya Sen, a runner-up at All England as well as bronze medallist at last Worlds, Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty and B. Sumeeth Reddy while multiple Olympic medallist PV Sindhu will lead the women’s squad which has Aakarshi Kashyap, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri P and Ashwini Ponappa.
Unnati caught selectors’ eyes as she secured a place for the Asian Games as well as Uber Cup by finishing third in the women’s singles after Kashyap and Ashmita Chaliha, who claimed first and second positions respectively. She is the youngest Indian badminton player to be part of the Asian Games squad.
A 10-member women’s team for the Asian Games and Uber Cup will consist of Sindhu, Kashyap, Chaliha, Hooda alongside top three doubles pairs from the trials —Treesa Jolly-Gayatri P, N Sikki Reddy-Ashwini Ponappa and Tanisha Crasto-Shruti Mishra. The Asian Games will be held at Hangzhou in China from September 10-25 while the Thomas & Uber Cups are scheduled next month in May.
Sindhu, Sen, Srikanth and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj and Shetty were awarded direct entry into the squads for their world rankings inside top-15. In-form shuttler HS Prannoy has also been included as part of automatic selection for his consistent impressive recent form at the international circuit.
Priyanshu Rajawat, who claimed the top spot in the men’s singles category, also made his way into the 10-men contingent for the Asian Games and Thomas Cup alongside Sen, Srikanth and Prannoy. The team also has Satwiksairaj and Shetty and the Top-2 doubles pairs from the trials—Dhruv Kapila-MR Arjun and Vishnu Vardhan Goud-Krishna Prasad Gariga.
“The new format for the trials was developed to provide a platform where the senior as well as young players can have opportunities and now you can now see the squads are a great mix of youth and experience and am sure each of them will make the most of this opportunity and make India proud,” said Sanjay Mishra, . General Secretary of BAI.
The trials saw participation of 120 players in the five categories as the league-cum-round robin format tested the ability of the players in each stage from April 15-20.
Commonwealth Games: (Men) Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty and B Sumeeth Reddy; (Women) PV Sindhu, Aakarshi Kashyap, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri P, Ashwini Ponappa.
Asian Games and Thomas & Uber Cup: (Men) Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Priyanshu Rajawat, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Dhruv Kapila, MR Arjun, Vishnu Vardhan Goud, Krishna Prasad Gariga (Women) PV Sindhu, Aakarshi Kashyap, Ashmita Chaliha, Unnati Hooda, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri P, N Sikki Reddy, Ashwini Ponappa, Tanisha Crasto and Shruti Mishra.