Ajay Jayaram and Mugdha Agrey will spearhead the hosts’ challenge as around 250 shuttlers from 13 different countries will lock horns during the Infosys Foundation India International Challenge tournament, to be held at the Cricket Club of Mumbai premises.

Ajay and Agrey are both seeded second in their respective categories and are the highest ranked singles players from India in action. The men’s doubles draw has the presence of experienced pair Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy, who are the top seeds.

The tournament has an overall prize money of $25,000 and the qualifying rounds will start on November 20 and the main draw from November 21. The final will be held on November 24.

Apart from a huge number of young Indian players, this year will see participation from star players from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and upcoming players from countries like Russia, United States, Bhutan, among others.

In the men’s singles event, the top seed is Valdimir Malkov (Russia) while Siril Verma is the other seeded player (at No. 6) from India.

In the women’s singles draw, world No. 38 Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand is the top seed. The seeded entries list is otherwise dominated by Indians, with six out of eight representing the host country. Other than the seeds, youngster Malvika Bansod would be keen to take her impressive junior form into the senior event.

The women’s doubles category will see the dynamic and top-seed Russian duo Ekaterina Bolotova and Alina Davletova challenge the Indian pair J Meghana and Poorvisha Ram, who are seeded second.

In the mixed doubles group, the Russian pair and world No. 27 Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova are the ones to watch out for.

Legendary badminton player Prakash Padukone, said, “Indian shuttlers are making their mark on international courts and this has led to a surge of interest in the sport, taking it from just a game played during holidays to a serious sport at a competitive level.

“The ranking points from this event are taken into consideration during the Olympic Qualification of players next year and hence, the competition is bound to be tough and exciting,” the former world No. 1 noted.