•63 badminton players have confirmed participation in this Saturday's National Circuit tournament at Sikh Union Club, Nairobi
•The event will assist the federation rank the players in each category in terms of their strengths
•The top eight players in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles category will be selected to compete at the national trials
Approximately 63 badminton players have confirmed participation in this Saturday's National Circuit tournament at Sikh Union Club, Nairobi.
Badminton Kenya chairperson, Peter Muchiri, said an estimated 23 female and 40 male players are expected to battle for selection to the national trials to be held in a week's time.
"All the top players have confirmed participation and for me, this is a strong showing especially coming after the difficult corona period. We expect an entertaining show on Saturday," Muchiri said.
The tournament is the first of six national circuit tournaments as the country seeks to select the best badminton players to compete at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.
Muchiri explained that the event will assist the federation rank the players in each category in terms of their strengths.
"We will undertake an elaborate process of selecting players for national trials. At the national trials, those selected will further compete against one another on January 16 after which a selection panel will meet to select the final list of players to the Olympics qualifiers," he said.
The top eight players in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles category will be selected to compete at the national trials.
This is unlike previous editions where those selected for national trials have come from the men and women's singles category.
"This is a big shift in the way that we undertake national selection. It is part of our plan to improve the standards of the sport in the country," he said.
Regarding Covid-19 protocols, Muchiri said no fans will be allowed into the venue whereas everyone in attendance will be required to wear face mask.
"Since this is a local tournament, there will be no need for Covid-19 test and certificate. However, only the players competing in the event and select officials will be allowed into the venue," Muchiri said.
Amidst the pandemic, the federation has been monitoring various players who have been training individually with their coaches.
"In particular, we have Mercy Joseph who is on Olympics scholarship. She has been training even amid the pandemic under the guidance of NOC-K."