Asian Badminton Championship to begin

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> The Asian Satellite Badminton Championship will begin at the Gachibowli indoor stadium in Hyderabad tomorrow.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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The Asian Satellite Badminton Championship will begin at the Gachibowli indoor stadium in Hyderabad tomorrow. The tournament provides a perfect stage for former All England champion Pullela Gopichand to stage a comeback into the main circuit. Gopichand, who was out of action in some of the major national and international events due to knee injury, looks fit and is raring to go with the advantage of playing on home turf in the eight-nation championship. With the quick and powerful China, Malaysia and Korea not taking part, India has to grapple with Thailand and Indonesia to aspire for laurels. Comeback bid Gopichand, who has the record of fighting injuries to win titles as he had done during the All England Championship, has a good chance to bounce back into limelight. "I'm confident that India will do well in men's singles, though we expect to have a stiff competition from Thailand and Indonesia," Gopichand said. "The competition will give our players a good exposure and there's going to be a keen contest. Some very good matches will be seen in this circuit," he added. On his knee injury, Gopi said, "it's not that much hurting now and I'm feeling fine. I hope that I will be able to put up a good show in this tournament." Other contenders National champion Chetan Anand, returned from Indonesia after a month-long training and looks fit. And the women's team will have in its ranks doubles champions Jwala Gutta and Shruti Kurien besides Trupti Murugunde and Manjusha Kanwar. Winner of the USD 10,000 tournament will get 180 points, runner up 150, semifinalist 120 and quarterfinalist 90 points. Qualifying rounds began today to pick up 19 players in the men's singles, 11 for women's singles and 13 for men's doubles. About 100 shuttlers from Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangaldesh, Iran, Nepal and hosts India will be seen in action at the Gachibowli indoor stadium which has a hectic three-day schedule. (PTI)

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