It's been over six months since the country's young shuttlers got to face the top stars. That is because the Badminton Association of India failed to conduct any tournament during the period.
So, the Senior National Badminton Championship, that begins here on Thursday, assumes significance for the upcoming players. Although, the tournament has lost some of its sheen with the withdrawal of defending champions Chetan Anand and Saina Nehwal, it still has the likes of Anup Sridhar and Arvind Bhat.
The two start as favourites in the men's singles event. Anup is returning from a long injury lay-off and Bhat has struggled to win nationals despite qualifying for the final on four occasions. In the women's category, Trupti Murgunde starts favourite despite being seeded behind Neha Pandit of Maharashtra.
Despite Chetan and Saina missing from their ranks, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board are the runaway favourites in the Inter-state team championship.