- Badminton fever is set to return to the city! The Tata group and Tata Capital in association with the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) announced the 2016 edition of Tata Open India International Challenge (Tata Open) at a press conference held in Mumbai today. The power-packed tournament will be held from November 30 - December 4, 2016, at the Cricket Club of India (CCI), Mumbai. This year, Tata Open carries the prize money of USD 17,500, witnessing a hike from USD 15,000 of last year.
The qualifying rounds of the tournament will be held on November 30 and the main draw will commence from 1st December with the finals taking place on December 4. Tomoharu Sano from Japan will be the referee for the tournament.
In the Men’s Singles category, Pratul Joshi of India is the top seed and Siril Verma is the second seed. International players like Yee Han Chong and Lim Chi Wing of Malaysia will play against Indian players like Aditya Joshi and Shreyansh Jaiswal, promising a pulsating clash of badminton talent. Of the young brigade from India, Lakshya Sen and Mr Verma are the players to watch out for. There are many emerging Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean players also in the fray to challenge the seeded players.
The Women’s Singles category features the 2014 Tata Open winner, Gadde Ruthvika Shivani of India as the top seed followed by Ying Ying Lee of Malaysia. Further, Yin Fun Lim and Soniia Cheah of Malaysia, Hui Zhen Grace Chua of Singapore and Gregoria Mariska of Indonesia are among the other key players.
In the Men’s Doubles category, Malaysian players, Sze Fei Goh and Nur Izzuddin are seeded at No1, and Kah Ming Chooi and Low Juan Shen are seeded at No2. The tournament will witness Indian Men’s Doubles pair of Vighnesh Devlekar and Rohan Kapoor, and M Anilkumar Raju and Venkat Gaurav Prasad, seeded at No3 and No4 respectively, fighting for the winning title.
The Women’s Doubles category will see Nisak Puji Lestari and Merisa Cindy Sahputri of Indonesia along with Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram of India as the top two seeded teams.
Indian players, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Maneesha K along with Rinov Rivaldy and Vania Arianti Sukoco of Indonesia are the top two seeded teams in the Mixed Doubles category.
This year, the participating countries include India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand and England. India will be represented by a strong contingent of 155 players followed by Malaysia with 25, Indonesia with 22, Singapore with 16, Sri Lanka with 8, and 12 players from other countries.
The tournament, which is a part of the international circuit of badminton tournaments that earns ranking points for players, is organised under the patronage of Maharashtra Badminton Association (MBA) and Badminton Association of India (BAI), and is also sanctioned by Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC).
Speaking at the press conference, Prakash Padukone, founder and director, Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, said, “Tata Open has grown in popularity year-on-year, attracting talent from across countries and giving Indian players an international platform in home ground to showcase their talent. The line up this year showcases some promising youngsters from India and Malaysia who are likely to excel at the highest level in the next three to five years. The past eight seasons have been spectacular, and we are looking forward to build on this success and take the tournament to the next level.”
He also added, “The Tata group has been supporting the cause of promoting sports among the youth of this country. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the group’s support to the cause of badminton, which has enabled this tournament to grow in stature from a domestic to an international tournament, and also its support to the Tata Padukone Badminton Centres, which has been successfully grooming future Indian badminton players for the last ten years.”
Suprakash Mukhopadhyay, chairman, Tata Sports Club, said, “We are extremely pleased to be continuing our support to PPBA and have extended our association with them for a further three-year period. The Tata group believes that with continued corporate support, badminton as a sport can truly move into the mainstream arena in India.”
Avijit Bhattacharya, chief human resources officer and head, corporate sustainability, Tata Capital, said, “Tata Capital firmly believes its brand promise to ‘do right’ for all its stakeholders, and our commitment towards supporting badminton as a sport in our country is in line with this philosophy. The Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy has been steadfast in their commitment towards the development of badminton as a sport in India and we are proud to be associated with them for the Tata Open, which gives many talented players from the international and national badminton fraternity a chance to showcase their skills on a larger stage.”
The Cricket Club of India (CCI) Mumbai is the venue partner and will host the tournament at its state-of-the-art air conditioned badminton courts. Leading badminton equipment manufacturer Yonex is the official equipment supplier and the tournament is also being supported by Tata Hexa.
As part of the association with PPBA, the Tata group and Tata Capital support Tata Padukone Badminton Centres in Bengaluru and Mumbai. The centres impart top-notch training and coaching to young players who are selected on merit, and to whom training and facilities are provided on a scholarship basis. In its short history, the PPBA, through the Tata Padukone Badminton Centres, has produced multiple national and international level champions.