Chennai, May 20 (IANS) All eyes will be on the under-19 girls singles top seed Pullela Gayatri Gopichand, daughter of India coach Pullela Gopichand, at the Sunrise All-India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament, starting here on Tuesday.
Over 1,000 young shuttlers will be vying for breakthrough victories, but Gayatri will be the cynosure of all eyes as she is set to lead the country's next generation of players towards greater and success.
The 16-year-old Hyderabadi, who has shown rare consistency and amazing temperament at this level, will, however, keep her eye on Chhattisgarh's Aakarshi Kashyap. Both are highly talented and were part of the Asian Games contingent and have also traded wins in the past.
They will be keen to pocket this trophy as the tournament doubles up as a selection ticket for the Junior Asian Badminton Championship (ABC) in China two months later.
Madhya Pradesh's Priyanshu Rajawat will play a similar starring role in the under-19 boys' singles. The top seed here has rapidly risen up the ranks and will hope to reinforce his reputation as a giant-killer. Manipur's Maisnam Meiraba, though, stands in his way as a valiant contender.
Sankar Muthusamy, a Chennai lad and bronze medalist in last year's ABC, will also hope to repeat or better that performance. Sai Charan Koya, Sathish Kumar K and Aakash Yadav will enter the fray as seeds in the boys' singles and hope to pull off a few upsets over the next six days.
In the girls' singles, Aakarshi Kashyap, Malvika Bansod and Unnati Bisht will also be key players in this tournament.
Thirty-two boys and girls have been given direct entries to the main draw, while eight each in the three doubles categories -- boys, girls and mixed.
Manjit Singh Khwairakpam & Dingku Singh Konthoujam are the top seeds in the Boys Doubles, while Treesa Jolly and Varshini VS in the Girls and Navaneeth Bokka and Sahithi Bandi in Mixed get the pride of place.
Over 500 boys and 220 girls from different parts of the country will go through the qualifying rounds in the hope of making it to the main draw and then eke out a few victories.