Saina Seeded Top in Badminton Asia Championships

New Delhi, Apr 4 (IANS): India's badminton star Saina Nehwal has got top seeding in the Yonex Sunrise Badminton Asia Championships beginning at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here April 12.

Jwala Gutta and V. Diju have also got the top billing in mixed doubles category.

This is the first time that Indian players have got top billing in the tournament.

As many as six Indian entries have been seeded in the draw announced at Kuala Lumpur Saturday.

The other seeded players are Chetan Anand, ninth, P Kashyap, 13th, and Arvind Bhat, 16th, in the men's singles. Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar are seeded third in the men's doubles competition.

In women's singles, Hong Kong's Zhou Mi has been seeded second followed by Japanese Eriko Hirose.

Three-time champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia has got top seeding in men's singles while China's Lin Dan, who is the reigning world and Olympic champion, has been seeded second.

Saina, ranked sixth in the world, will open her campiagn against Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand and has a potential second round clash against Julia Pei Xian Wong of Malaysia, who meets India's Trupti Murgande.

"I think it is a competitive draw for the Indians in men's singles. With Taufiq Hidayat and Lin Dan participating, it promises to be a very high level tournament," said chief national coach Pullela Gopichand.

Chetan Anand has a comfortable opening round match against Chong Chieh Lok of Malaysia. He may meet compatriot Anup Sridhar in the second round and could face third seeded Chinese Chen Long in pre-quarterfinals.

"It seems to be a good draw and I am looking forward to meet the third-seeded Long in pre-quarterfinals. I think I have a good chance of beating him," he said.

The 13th seeded Kashyap will be up against Wing Ki Wong of Hong Kong in the first round.

Gopichand said Kashyap has a tough opening match since Ki Wong has improved a lot in the last two years.

"Arvind Bhat has a good draw and should be able to reach the round of 16," he said.

Badminton Asia Confederation secretary general V.K. Verma, who is also the president of Badminton Association of India (BAI) conducted the draw at Kuala Lumpur Saturday.




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Title: Saina Seeded Top in Badminton Asia Championships

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