New Delhi: In a bid to attract country’s top shuttlers, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has increased the total prize money of Senior National Badminton Championships to almost Rs 1 crore, BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma has announced. The figure will, thus, witness a ten-fold hike from the earlier amount of Rs 10 lakh.

“We will be increasing the prize money to close to 1 crore from this year and the players will receive the prize money from the pre-quarterfinal stage,” announced the BAI chief. 

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The BAI chief also revealed that the announcement has received encouraging response from the players.

“Before coming to Kochi, I had a meeting with all the senior players and they have decided to participate in the senior nationals,” he said.

Apart from PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, top men’s players like Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth are also expected to participate in the event slated to be held from November 2 to 8 in Nagpur.

“When we conduct our national tournament, normally our seniors choose not to play. Like Saina has not participated in nationals since long. I have not seen her playing in nationals since 2010,” Sarma told reporters. 

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Sarma added: “All the players having international engagements normally skip our nationals because of three factors — firstly, they fear injury. Secondly, their international commitment, and finally the nationals used to be conducted in a very casual manner with games going on up to midnight or sometimes beginning very early morning.”

Interestingly, the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold, which will be held from November 7 to 12, clashes with the dates of senior nationals. Sindhu has won the women’s singles title in Macau thrice from 2013 to 2015 and might not be available for the nationals if she flies out for this edition of the tournament as well.

(With Inputs From Agencies)