By Anupam Soni :
BAI announces squads for Thomas & Uber Cup and Sudirman Cup
HER transition from junior to senior category has been a seamless one and Nagpur’s pride ace shuttler Malvika Bansod has moved as swiftly as one can from India junior squads to India senior squads. The southpaw became first player from the region to be included in star-studded Indian squads for two major international tournaments at a same time on Sunday. Talented Malvika, who was the only unbeaten player, men and women combined, in the trails held a few days ago, was named for upcoming Thomas and Uber Cup Finals and Sudirman Cup tournaments. Badminton Association of India (BAI) announced strong squads with Saina Nehwal and B Sai Praneeth spearheading women’s and men’s teams respectively.
Thomas and Uber Cup Finals is scheduled in Denmark from October 9-17 and will be preceded by Sudirman Cup which is slated to take place from September 26 to October 3 in Finland. For the Thomas and Uber Cup, the London Olympics bronze medallist Nehwal will be accompanied by top-3 singles ranks from the trials—Malvika, Aditi Bhatt and Tasnim Mir—in the 10-member women’s team alongside three doubles pairs, including Tanisha Crasto and Rutuparna Panda, who claimed the top spot in the trials. The players, for the Thomas and Uber Cup and the Sudirman Cup, were selected on the basis of their performances in the recently-concluded trials apart from the automatic selections of the players/pairs, who are placed inside Top-20 in the world rankings.
Two-time Olympics medallist PV Sindhu has not been included in the squad as she had requested not to consider herself for the selections citing post Olympics recovery. The women’s team has been drawn in the Group B along with Thailand, Spain and Scotland in the Uber Cup. In the 17th edition of biennial Sudirman Cup, Indian team will be competing along with the defending champions China, Thailand and hosts Finland in the Group A. Naturally, the youngster was happy with her senior India debut. “I am very delighted to have been selected to represent India in the biennial events in both Sudirman as well as Uber Cup. I am glad that I performed well at the selection trials held last week at Hyderabad,” said Malvika, who will be turning 20 on September 15, while talking to ‘The Hitavada’. “I am very grateful to the BAI for giving me this opportunity to represent our country. To represent India alongside very experienced players will be the greatest learning experience for me. I am hopeful of giving my best in both the tournaments. I am very grateful to my coach Sanjay Mishra Sir for his hard work put in my and training,” she added. Malvika will get a chance to be with the likes of Saina. “Saina is an inspiration for every Indian badminton player. With her vast experience, it will be a great learning curve for me. It will be great just to be in the team alongside her,” said Malvika.