Hyderabad: The badminton championship in the National Games that start in Hyderabad will miss the country's top badminton players. Both P Gopichand and Aparna Popat are not playing in the Games. The other players say the singles matches will lack the stiff competition that would have been there if these two had played. For the last few years, the names of Pullela Gopichand and Aparna Popat have been synonymous with Indian badminton. So when both skip the National Games because of injury, it surely robs the Games of the glamour element and reduces spectator interest. However, that does not bother national coach S M Arif too much. He says this could be a good opportunity for other players to be noticed. "Since both of them are national champions, they have their own glamour and importance. But the other top players of the country are very much here so I do not think the level of competition has reduced," insisted Arif. But the top seeds are very much in action in the doubles category. The women doubles pair of Shruti Kurien and Jwala Gutta - that has so far won more than 25 national titles - says they are keen to add this one to their kitty as well. "The competition will not be too high especially in the ladies doubles. There is no other pair that has been playing together for a very long time. Jwala and I have been playing together for six years now. Most of the other combinations that are taking part are all scratch combinations," said Shruti. It hasn't been a great year for Indian badminton. The players did not do well both at the Commonwealth and the Busan Asian Games. The National Games may just help India take a close look at the talent pool available in the country.
Topics : Badminton