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Noopur Bhandiwad, Pune

Pune is hosting the 84th edition of the Senior National Badminton championships from February 22 to February 28, 2023 at Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi. Around 450 shuttlers are expected to participate in the tournament including badminton stars such as Former World No. 1 Kidambi Shrikant and Current India No. 1 HS Prannoy. 

It is jointly organized by the Pune District and Metropolitan Badminton Association (PDMBA) and Pune Municipal Corporation. 

The inter-state team championships will be held for the first two days of the tournament. Individual championships will commence from February 24. The events lined up are men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles, along with the seven teams that will fight for the team championship.

Pranoy and Srikanth who played an instrumental role in India’s Thomas cup win will face a tough competition from the likes of defending champion Sourabh Verma and his younger brother Sameer as well as former world championships bronze medalist B Sai Praneeth. 

“The popularity of the game is on an all-time high with the national team creating history by winning the Thomas cup last year and then clinching India’s first-ever Badminton Asia mixed Team medal earlier this month”, said Sanjay Mishra, Secretary of Badminton Association of India (BAI). 

Due to the pandemic, the senior nationals were not held for the past 2 years. In the last edition of the badminton nationals which was held in February 2019, Saina Nehwal defeated PV Sindhu for the women’s singles title. Sourabh Verma was crowned as the men’s singles champion. 

Other key players include All England semi-finalists women’s doubles combination of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly, men’s doubles specialists Chirag Shetty, Dhruv Kapila, Krishna Prasad, Vishnuvardhan Goud. 

The women’s and men’s singles champions will take home a prize of INR 3.25 lakhs each, with the doubles champions getting richer by INR 3.45 lakhs. The winner of Inter-State Inter-Zonal meet will secure INR 5 lakhs as prize money.The tournament is returning after a gap of 27 years to Pune, which is also considered to be the birthplace of shuttle badminton.