Mumbai: Badminton fans will witness 248 shuttlers from 13 countries as they battle it out for one of the most exciting and contested titles, the 11th edition of Tata Open India International Challenge 2018 (Tata Open). The tournament, to be held at the Cricket Club of India (CCI), Mumbai, from November 28 to December 2, 2018, is hosted by the Tata group and Tata Capital, in association with the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy. The tournament carries a total prize money of USD 25,000. Ashley George from Bahrain will be the referee for the 2018 edition.
This year, the participants include star players from Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, England, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States of America.
The qualifying rounds of the tournament will be held on November 28 and 29, and the main draw will be held on November 30 to December 1, with the finals taking place on December 2, 2018.
In line with its commitment to support and encourage the culture of sports in India, the Tata group has been holding the Tata Open badminton tournament since 2008. The tournament is organised under the auspices of Maharashtra Badminton Association and Badminton Association of India, and is also sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation and the Badminton Asia Confederation. The Tata Open is part of the international circuit of badminton tournaments that earns ranking points for players.
The tournament will see ace shuttlers put up a pulsating spectacle across all formats of the game, including men and women singles, men and women doubles and mixed doubles. The top seeds across formats are from Asian countries, including India, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Under the men’s singles format, the No1 and No2 seed players include Mithun Manjunath and Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen from India. The category will see international players from Mauritius and Thailand like Georges Julien Paul and Adulrach Nakul throw a challenge to one another.
In the women singles group, the top seeds are Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel (No1) and Phittayaporn Chaiwan of Thailand (No2). Indian girls Mugdha Agrey, seeded 3, and Vaidehi Choudhari, who is seeded 5, are expected to give a tough competition to other players.
Under the men’s doubles category, the tournament will witness the Malaysian pair of Sze Fei Goh and Nur Izzuddin, who are seeded at No1, and Arun George and Sanyam Shukla from India, who are seeded at No2, give their best for the title.
The women’s doubles category will see both Indian and international talents. The dynamic duo of Meghana J and Poorvisha S Ram stand at top seed, while the popular Hong Kong pair of Nga Ting Yeung and Wing Yung Ng stand at second. The doubles will also see the key pair of Vivian Hoo and Cheng Wen Yap from Malaysia play against the best.
The mixed doubles group promises some thrilling action with pairs from Hong Kong, Thailand and India. While Tak Ching Chang and Wing Yung Ng from Hong Kong stand at No1, Nipitphon Phuanghuapet and Savitree Amitrapai from Thailand as a pair stand at No2. Other pairs include international badminton players from Singapore.
Prakash Padukone, founder and director, Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA), said, “Indian shuttlers are making their mark on international courts and this has led to a surge of interest in the sport, taking it from just a game played during holidays to a serious sport at a competitive level. PPBA is proud to contribute to the growth of badminton as a competitive sport in the country, and is delighted to be a part of the Tata Open for the 11th year in succession. Tata Open offers a unique opportunity to young badminton talent to compete with both promising and established players on an international platform.”
Suprakash Mukhopadhyay, chairman, Tata Sports Club, said, “Tata Open is a world-class sporting event that celebrates the spirit of badminton in all its aspects! The increased participation from countries across the globe is testament to the growing recognition of the tournament on the international circuit. Tata Open will continue to serve as a platform for budding players to get an exposure to world-class badminton and to hone their skills at par with international standards. As players from across the world gather in the spirit of competition, we are sure that badminton fans will come out in support of their favourites as they face off across the courts.”
Abonty Banerjee, chief marketing and digital officer, Tata Capital, said, “At Tata Capital, we are honoured to be associated with the Tata Open India International Challenge, a platform that empowers young players to scale new heights. Our players have made a mark in the international sporting arena and we hope to see new champions emerge every year who will set new milestones and bring glory to our country. We wish our budding players great success in the upcoming Tata Open India International Challenge and we look forward to an exciting game.”
The Tata Open India International Challenge will be held at the state-of-the-art air-conditioned courts at CCI Mumbai and will be supported in equipment by leading manufacturer Yonex.
Tata group and Tata Capital along with PPBA support Tata Padukone Badminton Centres across Bengaluru and Mumbai to impart quality training and coaching to young players on merit through scholarships.