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Former national men's singles champion Sourabh Verma is bidding to repeat his four-year-old triumphant run as the top seed in the 10th Tata Open Indian International Challenge Badminton tournament commencing here tomorrow. The MP-born Verma, who will turn 25 on December 30, is the highest world-ranked men's player (48) in the main draw, commencing on November 30 after tomorrow's qualifying stage, it was announced at a media conference today. He will be followed in the pecking order by compatriot Abhishek Yelegar. The tournament, being organised by the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy at the Cricket Club of India's courts, has attracted players from eight nations, including Malaysia and Thailand from South East Asia. The men's singles event will also be contested by rising players such as Giap Chi Goh and Lim Chi Wing of Malaysia, apart from India's Pratul Joshi and Lakshya Sen, bronze medal winner in the Asian juniors in 2016. In women's singles, India's Rituparna Das and Sri Krishna Priya have been billed as the top two seeds.
Other key players in the draw include Yeo Jia Min ande Chua Hui Zhen Grace of Singapore, Yin Fun Lim of Malasia and Sai Ittejitha Rao of India. There are events in men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles too. Badminton great Prakash described the upcoming event as "a special edition for us." "In the first two years it was a domestic tournament but thereafter became an international one. Prize money of USD 20,000 is on offer and the tournament is poised to showcase gripping action from a mixture of upcoming and established players," said the former All-England champion. In men's doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are the top seeds followed by Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy, while in the women's doubles J Meghna and S Poorvisha of the host nation are seeded no. one followed by the Hong Kong pair of Ng Tsz Yau and Yeung Nga Ting. Lui Wan of Malaysia is the tournament referee.
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