Tata Open 2017: Former national champion Sourabh Verma seeded No 1 in men's singles event
Former national men's singles champion Sourabh Verma is bidding to repeat his four-year-old triumphant run as the top seed in the 10th Tata Open Indian International Challenge Badminton tournament
Mumbai: Former national men's singles champion Sourabh Verma is bidding to repeat his four-year-old triumphant run as the top seed in the 10th Tata Open Indian International Challenge Badminton tournament commencing on Wednesday.
The MP-born Verma, who will turn 25 on 30 December, is the highest world-ranked men's player (48) in the main draw, commencing on 30 November after Wednesday's qualifying stage, it was announced at a media conference on Tuesday.
He will be followed in the pecking order by compatriot Abhishek Yelegar.
The tournament, being organised by the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy at the Cricket Club of India's courts, has attracted players from eight nations, including Malaysia and Thailand from South East Asia.
The men's singles event will also be contested by rising players such as Giap Chin Goh and Lim Chi Wing of Malaysia, apart from India's Pratul Joshi and Lakshya Sen, a bronze medal winner in the Asian juniors in 2016.
In women's singles, India's Rituparna Das and Sri Krishna Priya have been billed as the top two seeds. Other key players in the draw include Yeo Jia Min and Chua Hui Zhen Grace of Singapore, Yin Fun Lim of Malasia and Sai Ittejitha Rao of India.
There are events in men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles too.
Badminton great Prakash described the upcoming event as "a special edition for us."
"In the first two years, it was a domestic tournament but thereafter became an international one. Prize money of $20,000 is on offer and the tournament is poised to showcase gripping action from a mixture of upcoming and established players," said the former All-England champion.
In men's doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are the top seeds followed by Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy, while in the women's doubles J Meghna and S Poorvisha of the host nation are seeded no 1 followed by the Hong Kong pair of Ng Tsz Yau and Yeung Nga Ting.
Lui Wan of Malaysia is the tournament referee.
India have been drawn in Group A alongside defending champions China, three-time semi-finalists Thailand and hosts Finland in the BWF tournament, which comprises two singles and three doubles matches in a tie.
It was India's second consecutive defeat after losing the Sudirman Cup Group A opener to Thailand.