Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Marin, Momota among big stars as India Open set to be held behind closed doors

India boasts of the largest contingent with 48 players (27 women and 21 men), while Malaysia has fielded the second biggest squad with 26 shuttlers, which includes 10 women and 16 men

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NEW DELHI: Olympic champion Carolina Marin and World No. 1 Kento Momota will headline a star-studded field of internatio­nal shuttlers when the India Open Super 500 event is held here from May 11 to 16, albeit behind closed doors due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

The USD 400,000 tournament, one of the last few qualificat­ion events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, has attracted 228 (114 men and 114 women) entries from 33 different national associatio­ns, including China.

However, the Badminton Associatio­n of India (BAI) said "due to the rapidly rising COVID-19 cases in the country, the tournament will be contested in a bio-secure bubble without spectators and media while implementi­ng strict COVID-19 safety protocols."

"All the players and officials coming from South Africa,

Brazil, Middle East and European countries including UK will be serving a 7-day quarantine period and have to report in the capital city on May 3," BAI said in a release.

"... Players and officials from rest of the world can arrive on May 6 and undergo a 4-day quarantine period."

On the court, three-time world champion Marin will lead the women's singles category along with other Top-10 shuttlers such as Akane Yamaguchi, 2019 world champion PV Sindhu, Korea's An SeYoung and Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong.

India boasts of the largest contingent with 48 players (27 women and 21 men), while Malaysia has fielded the second biggest squad with 26 shuttlers, which includes 10 women and 16 men.

A total of 10 shuttlers (4 women and 6 men) from China are also part of the participan­ts list.

Among the men, two-time world champion Momota, defending champion Viktor Axelson, Anders Antonsen and reigning All England Open champion Zii Jia Lee will be in the fray.

Former World No. 1 Srikanth Kidambi will lead the Indian charge along with B Sai Praneeth, HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap.

India's men's doubles challenge will be spearheade­d by World No. 10 pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksair­aj Rankireddy, while Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will aim for some valuable Olympic qualificat­ion points in the women's doubles.

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