National Juniors badminton underway

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The 26th National Juniors badminton tournament gets underway in Bhopal.

Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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The 26th National Juniors badminton tournament began in Bhopal today. The tournament is being held for the first time in Madhya Pradesh. 32 teams are in the fray and there are some 400 participants. The tournament is an annual event for players below the age of 19. At the 26th National Juniors badminton tournament inaugurated by former badminton legend Prakash Padukone. All eyes are on 13-year-old Aditi Mutatkar. Just back from France after reaching the semi-finals of an international tournament, Mutatkar is billed as favourite for the girls' single title. "Best two are not here to play, but all others are quite manageable. Yes I'm confident, lets see," said Aditi. Players belonging to the newly created states of Uttaranchal, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand, however, have lots of complaints. "There's complete lack of infrastructure. It is like a newborn baby. They need to develop it further. And even Uttar Pradesh has not helped us financially," said T K Sain, Coach, Uttaranchal. This is also the first national level tournament organised on a new format laid down by the International Badminton Federation. Instead of three 15-point games, there will be 5 games of 7 points each. This format is on an experimental basis and the IBF will take a final decision, next June. "I think a lot of luck is required, consistency will not be there, I personally feel that matches will be close, it is good from the spectators point of view, but I don't think any one player will be able to be on top for very long," Prakash Padukone, former All England champion. The finals will be played on December 16. Earlier Air India won both the boys and the girls team events beating Maharashtra and West Bengal respectively.

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