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Badminton's top seeds gear up for prestigious KISG titles

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Dhruv Rawat and Amit Rathore, Malvika Bansod and Aakarshi Kashyap have been given top seeding in badminton singles draw in the inaugural Khelo India School Games here.

It would be a treat to watch the young guns compete in the badminton competition scheduled be held at the India Gandhi Indoor Stadium from February 5 to 8.

Uttarakhand lad Dhruv Rawat (Sharda Public School, Almora) has been pegged as a favourite in the boys' competition, ranked third in the Badminton Association of India (BAI) under-19 list.

With a fair bit of international experience under his belt, he will enter the School Games with a positive sentiment.

Madhya Pradesh's Rathore, seeded second, is hoping to challenge the top-seeded Rawat, who got the better of him when they last played an under-17 match and keep the National under-17 champion Maisnam Meiraba at bay this time around.

Rathore hopes to produce a good performance when he revives his on-court rivalry with these lads.

"I am excited to be participating in the Khelo India School Games. I will play my natural game. I will have a few practice sessions before I hit the court. I'm looking forward to it," said Maisnam Meiraba, who holds the numero uno spot at the Boys under-17 rankings and is seeded fourth at KISG.

Malvika Bansod (Nagpur), who currently trails Aakarshi Kashyap (Chhattisgarh) in the BAI under-19 girls' rankings, has been awarded the top seeding in the draw in KISG.

Ranked third, Malvika Bansod has had a great run-up to the KISG by winning an all-India senior ranking tournament in Bareilly recently.

"I have great expectations from Khelo India. It is a good opportunity and quite a big event. It feels positive to be the top seed and shows that you've been selected best, that you have to deliver. It is indeed a big boost and I know I have to perform well," an excited Malvika Bansod shared.

Aakarshi, too, had an eventful 2017. She picked up a double crown in National Junior Championships in Guwahati last month by registering emphatic victories in under-17 and under-19 events.

She defended her under-17 title by beating Bansod. In the Nationals Championships a month earlier, Aakarshi drew attention by giving a fight to 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal in the quarterfinals.

She managed all these achievements without a full-time coach, training all by herself in Bhilai until recently but will soon make her way to Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bengaluru.

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 3:55 PM IST

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