K T Rama Rao, President, Badminton Association of Telangana State, along with national badminton coach P Gopichand, HS Prannoy, P V Sindhu,  Jwala Gutta and Kidambi Srikanth  during the unveiling of Badminton Asia Team Championship trophies, in Hyderabad on Tuesday

K T Rama Rao, President, Badminton Association of Telangana State, along with national badminton coach P Gopichand, HS Prannoy, P V Sindhu, Jwala Gutta and Kidambi Srikanth during the unveiling of Badminton Asia Team Championship trophies, in Hyderabad on Tuesday

Hyderabad: Indian men and women will have tough campaigns up ahead when Hyderabad hosts the coveted Badminton Asia Team Championship, under the aegis of Badminton Association of Telangana State (BATS), at GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium here from February 15 to 21.

Top players drawn from across 26 teams, including 14 women outfits, will be seen in action in the event that will be of particular importance even to the powerhouses because those making it to the knockout stage will qualify for this year’s Thomas Cup and Uber Cup. 

It will also boost the prospects of the players as they will stand to garner crucial Olympic qualifying points. This was stated by Greg Kim, Secretary-General of Badminton Asia, KT Rama Rao, President of BATS, Jayesh Ranjan, Organising Secretary and chief national coach, Pullela Gopichand, after unveiling the Trophy here on Tuesday.

Present on the occasion were some of the country’s flag-bearers, including Jwala Gutta, PV Sindhu, K Srikanth and HS Prannoy. All teams will play in the group stage on a round-robin basis with the top two teams from each group getting to play in the knockout stage.

Indian men have been placed in the same group as China while the women will have to reckon with the proven skills of Japanese. Like Gopichand, even Srikanth, Jwala and Sindhu oozed with confidence that they would come up trumps no matter the equality of the opponents. They said home support would be a major morale-booster to each of them.

Group Draw: Men-A: China, India, Singapore; B: Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, C: Indonesia, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Maldives, D: Korea, Hong Kong China, Philippines; Women-A:  China, Malaysia, Hong Kong China; B: Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka; C: Korea, Indonesia, Maldives; D: Japan, India, Singapore.