Tonmoy leads Assam’s challenge at U-19 ranking badminton championship
Guwahati: Around 1,500 boys and girls, including 100 from the home state are expected to take part in the All India U-19 Junior Ranking badminton championship that starts at the DTRP Indoor Stadium in the city from Wednesday.
Assam Badminton Association (ABA) secretary Omar Rashid informed that the competition will be held in singles, doubles and mixed doubles categories.
Haryana boys Manraj Singh and Gagan are the top seeds for the boys’ singles event, while local boy Tonmoy Bikash Boruah is the No.12 seed. Among the girls, Haryana’s Unnati Hooda and Anmol Kharb are the top-seeded players in singles.
Karnataka’s Nicholas Nathan Raj and Tushar Suveer are the No.1 seeds in boys’ doubles, while the Tamil Nadu pair of Shreya Balaji and Srinidhi N top the seeds in the girls’ doubles category. In mixed doubles, the Tamil Nadu pair of Arulmurugan R and Srinidhi N is the top-seeded pair.
The competition is crucial for the participating players as probables for the national camp for the forthcoming Asian Junior Badminton Championship will be selected from the tournament.
The Asian Junior Badminton Championship is scheduled to be held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from July 7-16.
According to the Badminton Association of India (BAI), the top-8 players from both boys’ and girls’ singles events will be invited for the selection trials to be conducted in the national capital from June 4-7.
The top-4 pairs from each of the pair events, namely boys’ doubles, girls’ doubles and mixed doubles in the competition will also get a chance to take part in the selection trials in New Delhi.
The competition will start with the qualifying round matches across all categories for the first four days (May 10 – 13), before the main draw contests begin on May 14. The quarter-finals and semi-finals are scheduled for May 16 while the finals of all categories will be played on May 17.
The matches will begin at 9 am each day while the timings for the final will be decided once the tournament progresses.
Over the years, most age-group competitions have been marred by controversies, the more prominent being the menace of age fudging. Armed with fake documents and thick skin, there have been numerous cases of players competing in younger age groups to get ahead by unfair means and do injustice to deserving candidates.
In 2022, multiple cases of age fraud emerged during the All India Sub-Junior Under-13 ranking tournaments in Hyderabad, and later in Mohali, leading to many aggrieved parents protesting against the participation of over-aged players, and demanding a probe into the suspected players’ claims.
The parents have been dashing off letters to the Badminton Association of India (BAI), a few of which have also been shared with the media.
Most recently in February 2023, the BAI disqualified as many as eight shuttlers from participating in the All India Sub Junior Ranking badminton tournament in Jaipur, after the Badminton Parents group, called Swachh Badminton India (SBI) complained against the eight players, who were found manipulating their age qualification.