The 2018-’19 senior national badminton championships is likely to be moved to Guwahati from the original venue of Hyderabad.
Returning after a gap of 13 months, the Senior Nationals were initially supposed to be held in Hyderabad from February 4-10, 2019. However, the Telangana Badminton Association has expressed its inability to host the tournament in Hyderabad.
The Badminton Association of India is now considering shifting the event to Guwahati, which hosted the 2017-’18 junior national championships. Guwahati is also where BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma is based.
“It is 90% confirmed that the Senior Nationals will be held in Guwahati,” a source told Scroll.in. “We are just awaiting the confirmation about the venue. The Nationals will also likely move to mid-February because the venue is currently not available between February 4-10. It will be confirmed by next week.”
Like the 2017-’18 Senior Nationals, which were held in Nagpur, it will be mandatory for all of India’s top shuttlers to take part.
BAI had announced a 10-fold increase in the total prize money for the Nagpur Senior Nationals to Rs 1 crore in order to make it lucrative for the country’s top shuttlers.
The players who were ranked in the world’s top-50 at the time were given a direct entry into the pre-quarterfinals, limited to a maximum of eight slots out of 16.
BAI has not yet announced if there will be a change in format or prize money this year. However, a source confirmed to Scroll.in that it will again be mandatory for the country’s top shuttlers to take part in the event.
It remains to be seen how Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Co respond to the change in venue and dates, considering the prestigious All England Open begins on March 6, 2019.
If the Senior Nationals are held in the second or third week of February, that would hardly leave them 10 days or so to train for the All England Open.
It would have been easier for them to participate if the Senior Nationals were held in Hyderabad like the original plan was, considering the national camp is also based there.