Lakshya Sen, Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka and Malvika Bansod headline a strong 24-member Indian squad picked for the 2018 badminton world junior championships to be held in Markham, Canada, from November 5-18.
Sen, 17, is the current junior world No 3 and had won the Asian junior championship earlier this year. He, along with junior world No 5 Vaishnavi, were automatic selections, while the other shuttlers were picked on the basis of points accumulated during two selection tournaments organised by the Badminton Association of India.
Bansod, 17, won the women’s singles title in both selection tournaments in Chandigarh and Panchkula last month. Kiran George, who was the runner-up in Chandigarh and reached the quarter-finals in Panchkula, had the most points (700) among the men, along with Alap Mishra, who made the semi-finals of both tournaments. Kiran pushed Alap to the second spot on head-to-head match-ups.
Bansod led the pack in the women’s singles with 1,000 points, followed by Gayatri Gopichand, the runner-up in Panchkula and a semi-finalist in Chandigarh, with 775 points. A notable absentee from the squad was India Junior International title winner Aakarshi Kashyap. The 17-year-old reached the semi-finals in Panchkula and quarter-finals in Chandigarh.
India’s men’s doubles campaign will be spearheaded by Dhruv Kapila and Krishna Prasad, who won both selection tournaments. Sahithi Bandi and R Tanushree lead the women’s doubles category, after finishing runner-up in Panchkula and being semi-finalists in Chandigarh. India’s mixed doubles team will be led by Sai Pratheek Krishna Prasad and Ashwini Bhatt, who secured 852 cumulative points.
The doubles and mixed doubles pairs got the nod purely according to the points they logged in both events to get themselves selected. The winner of each leg gets 500 points, while the runner-up gets 425. The rest of the points bifurcation is as follows: semi-finals (350), quarter-finals (275) and pre-quarterfinals (192).
All the squad members will have to attend a preparatory camp in Panchkula from October 16–31. The selection committee has also picked some reserve players who will be inducted into the squads if there is a need to replace a player or pair.
Men: Lakshya Sen, Kiran George, Alap Mishra, and Priyanshu Rajawat (all singles); Dhruv Kapila, Krishna Prasad Garaga, Manjit Singh, Dingku Singh, Sai Pratheek Krishna Prasad, Sri Krishna Sai Kumar Podile, P Vishnuvardhan Goud, Navneet Bokka, Akshan Shetty (all doubles).
Women: Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka, Malvika Bansod, Gayatri Gopichand, Purve Barve (all singles); Sahithi Bandi, R Tanushree, Aditi Bhatt, Tanisha Crasto, K Ashwini Bhatt, Srishti Jupudi, Rashi Lambe (all doubles).