BAI mulling to recommend Ajay Jayaram for TOP scheme

New Delhi: The Badminton Association of India (BAI) is planning to recommend Ajay Jayaram for the TOP scheme, following his maiden Super Series final appearance last week at the Korea Open.

More than a year after recovering from an injury, Jayaram finished runner-up at the Korea Open, which helped him regain his place at the top-25 in the latest rankings issued by the Badminton World Federation yesterday. “It was a commendable performance by Jayaram. We have asked the technical committee to compile his profile and we are planning to recommend his name for TOP scheme,” BAI president Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta said. Jayaram had come within touching distance of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics only to lose the berth at the last moment to P Kashyap, who toppled him in rankings following a walkover in the India Open. Among the Indian men’s singles players, Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap and H S Prannoy are leading the rankings at fifth, eight and 16th respectively. However, the race to Rio Olympics qualification is still open with May 5, 2016 being
the cut off date.

Jayaram, who was left on the sidelines for six months after suffering a shoulder injury in January last year, will have a chance to qualify if he can come up with some sensational performance in the coming tournaments. The 27-year-old had reached the semifinals of Russian Open, Swiss Open and Malaysia Masters —- all Grand Prix level tournaments -– earlier this year. Six shuttlers — London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, Kashyap, Srikanth, RMV Gurusai Dutt and Prannoy — were the first to be included in the TOP scheme in April this year. Recently, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa was also included in the scheme by the Sports Ministry after much dilly-dallying. Men’s doubles pair of Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Atri, ranked 19th in the world, have also been included in the scheme.

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