Sameer Verma eyes title defence at national championships while PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal opt out

Patna: Top shuttlers, including P V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, will once again give it a miss but there will no dearth of high-voltage action at the 81st Senior National Badminton Championships which gets underway at the Patliputra Sports Complex on Friday.

Defending champion Sameer Verma, who won his first Grand Prix gold title last week at the Syed Modi International tournament, his elder brother and former champion Sourabh Verma, Swiss Open champion H S Prannoy will fancy their chances when they battle for supremacy for the men's title.

Defending champion Sameer Verma will look to win the National championships again. News18

Defending champion Sameer Verma will look to win the National championships again. News18

"Winning the Syed Modi title has given me a lot of confidence and it will help me in my defence of the National title. I am really looking forward to the tournament," Sameer told PTI.

There will be others also such as Mumbai's Harsheel Dani, who has defeated Prannoy to reach the semifinals at Lucknow, and the Joshi brothers – Pratul and Aditya – who will also look to produce a good show in the draw of 128.

Runners-up at Syed Modi tournament, Sai Praneeth will be a doubtful starter considering the fact that he had hurt his shoulder during the finals and might think of giving the nationals a miss.

Among others, Olympian Srikanth Kidambi, Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap and broze medallist RMV Gurusaidutt will be missing in action due to respective injuries, while Ajay Jayaram has also decided to skip the event.

In women's singles, defending champion PC Thulasi will be missing in action and it would be a great opportunity for Tanvi Lad, former champion Ruthvika Shivani and Rituparna Das to grab the title this year.

Arundhati Pantawane, who had won the gold medal at the 2011 National Games, will also be back in action after a hiatus.

There will be some high-octane action in doubles as well with the upcoming young men's pair of Satwik Sai Raj and Chirag Shetty hoping to lay their hands on the title, while in women's doubles Sanjana Santosh and Arathi Sara Sunil, who had reached the semifinals last week, will also fancy their chances.

Satwik will also combine with Maneesha K in the mixed doubles and will be one of the favourites, besides Akshay Dewalkar and Aparna Balan.

Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 18:00 PM

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