Sridhar to boost field in badminton tournament

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{image-anup sridhar jpg_14122007.jpg}Pune, Dec 14: India No 1 Anup Sridhar will be seen in action in the Rs 6 lakh All-India Major Ranking Badminton tournament, which will commence at the WIE Sports Complex here from November 16.

Sridhar confirmed his entry today. With this, the meet will receive a major boost. However, No 1 women's singles player Saina Nehwal and No 2 men's player Chetan Anand have not confirmed their participation.Tournament coordinator Uday Sane confirmed Bangalore-based World No 25 player's entry in the tournament, whose prize money make the event a virtual National.

Sane said ''Sridhar was supposed to play a couple of tournaments abroad and thus was expected to give Pune the miss. However, his entry has added an edge to field.'' It is the first time for Pune that such a big prize money is at stake. Earlier, the Senior National's held five years ago had offered Rs 4 lakh prize money. It is obvious that no player in India would give it a miss. Moreover, being a ranking tournament, the performance of players in this tournament will be considered for selection of Indian teams for Thomas Uber Cup and the European circuit to be held during February-March 2008, he said.

The tournament is sponsored by Patni Computer Systems and organised by the newly formed Poona District Sports Foundation under the auspices of Maharashtra Badminton Association and Badminton Association of India.

Meanwhile, the qualifying rounds, which will begin from tomorrow, have received a huge response, with 124 men battling for eight spots in the main draw, while in the women's section 54 will fight for four slots.

The tournament committee has awarded wild cards to men's and women's district champions -- Nihar Tilekar and Mudra Dahinje. The others include Thane's Amey Joshi, the Maharashtra No 2 ranked player, and Mumbai lass Jui Agaskar, the No 1 State women's player, Sane added.


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