New Delhi, June 2: The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has selected its final list of nominees for the National Sports Awards 2020 and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty and Sameer Verma have been recommended for the Arjuna Award.
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 too underlined his immense talent with some handsome results in the major tournaments that gave a fine example of his skills. 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.
The architect of the success stories of Indian badminton has been the coaches of whom renowned National Institute of Sports (NIS)-certified coaches, S. Murlidharan and Bhaskar Babu have been selected 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 Dhyan Chand Award, BAI recommended Pradeep Gandhe and Manjusha Kanwar. A two-time Asian Games bronze medallist, Gandhe has invested all his energy into administration of the sport after hanging up his racquet and is taking badminton to the next level in Maharashtra.
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.