NEW DELHI, June 27: The Badminton Association of India (BAI) today named six youngsters including Gayathri Gopichand in a strong 20-strong squad, headlined by the star trio of K Srikanth, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal for the prestigious Asian Games in Jakarta.
Gayathri, daughter of chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, will be joined by Ashmita Chaliha, Sai Uttejitha Rao, Akarshi Kashyap, Rutuparna Panda, Aarthi Sara Sunil and Sourabh Verma, winner of 2016 Chinese Taipei Masters.
BAI had organised two senior ranking tournaments in Bangalore and Hyderabad to select the squad after exempting senior players from the twin events.
On a comeback trail after recovering from a series of injuries, former national champion Sourabh, who had won in Bangalore and reached the final at Hyderabad, took the only remaining men�s singles spot after automatic selections Srikanth, Prannoy, Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma.
In women�s singles, BAI picked four young shuttlers after they produced good show in the selection tournaments.
Uttejitha and Ashmita won the titles in Bangalore and Hyderabad respectively. Fifteen-year-old Gayathri and Aakarshi Kashyap, who reached the semifinals in Hyderabad, also made the cut, while former national champion Rituparna Das, who was runners-up at Bengaluru, was the notable exclusion.
Young women�s doubles pair of Rutaparna Panda and Arathi Sara Sunil too was rewarded for wining the title in Bengaluru and reaching the semifinals in Hyderabad as the duo grabbed the second spot in the squad.
They will join Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy in the squad.
The men�s doubles category will be lead by CWG silver medallists Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, while Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will be the second pair.
Senior mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki also selected themselves in the squad, which will have Satwik and Ashwini joining hands for the second pair.
Men: Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma, Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, B. Sumeeth Reddy, Manu Attri, Pranaav Jerry Chopra, Sourabh Verma.
Women: PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, N Sikki Reddy, Ashwini Ponnappa, Sai Uttejitha Rao, Ashmita Chaliha, Rutaparna Panda, Aarthi Sara Sunil, Aakarshi Kashyap, Gayathri Gopichand. � Agencies