New Delhi, Jun 2 : The Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Tuesday recommended India's top men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and men's singles player Sameer Verma for the Arjuna Award.
The world no 10 Indian pair of Satwik and Chirag have taken doubles to unprecedented heights, establishing themselves as one of the best men’s doubles pairs in the world, validated by their historic Thailand Open title win last year. Their chemistry and aggression on the court played a crucial role in delivering India the historic gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games where they also won the men’s doubles silver.
Their consistency and fearlessness against the most accomplished pairs propelled them into the world’s top 10 and have pushed them within inches of securing their first Olympic berth for next year’s Tokyo Games. Sameer Verma, who made it to the Hong Kong Open final in 2016, was a model of consistency throughout 2018, winning three titles and ascending to a career-high No 11 in the world.
His series of dazzling performances earned him a place among the best-eight at the BWF World Tour Finals 2018, where he progressed to the semi-finals on debut. Besides, the BAI also recommended renowned National Institute of Sports (NIS)-certified coaches -- S Murlidharan and Bhaskar Babu for the Dronacharya Award. Murlidharan has been working relentlessly for the growth and development of the sport in Kerala, besides being an able administrator.
He has coached the likes of Vimal Kumar, Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas amongst many other renowned former players. He has also been a recipient of the Meritorious Service Award given by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in 1996. The former Indian coach, Babu has trained shuttlers like Chetan Anand and Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap at the SAI, Hyderabad Centre and in the past and is now working to train young badminton players in Secunderabad.
For the Dhyanchand Award, the national federation has recommended Pradeep Gandhe and Manjusha Kanwar. Gandhe is a two-time Asian Games bronze medallist. He had moved into administration of the sport after retiring and also served as Maharashtra Badminton Association (MBA) president. South Asian Games silver medallist and CWG Team bronze medallist, Manjusha Kanwar had a flourishing career in the domestic circuit winning multiple National Championships titles. Her connection with the game continues as she plays an important role in promoting and supporting sportspersons in her current role with Indian Oil as a Sports Promoter. "BAI has diligently assessed the performances of the athletes and coaches during the last four years before sending the names to the Sports Ministry for the recommendation," the BAI said in a statement. (UNI)