After an incredibly successful campaign at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022, Indian shuttlers will be hopping on to the Badminton World Championships scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan from August 21 to August 28.
Looking to continue their red-hot form, PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty, and others will be hunting for glory at the prestigious tournament.
For 2-time Olympic medallist and former World Champion and recent, Commonwealth Games champion, PV Sindhu, the draw is particularly difficult as she will have to conquer the reigning Asian Champion Wang Zhi Yi and take out talented Korean shuttler, An Se Young if she intends to win a sixth medal at the World Championships by reaching till the semi-finals.
Other than this, 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal is also in the bottom half of the women’s singles draw and will have to face off against former World Champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the second round itself.
For the men’s singles, things look particularly dreary in the draw released on Wednesday as Huelva World Championships silver medallist and bronze medallist, Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen have been placed in the same half as in-form veteran shuttler HS Prannoy, making it possible for only one of them to reach the semi-finals.
En route to the semi-finals, they will have to take on Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, who skipped the Commonwealth Games to prepare for the World Championships. Former World Champion Kento Momota will also need to be overcome by the Indian shuttlers to progress towards medalling – making matters really tough for the men’s side.
2019 World Championships bronze medallist B. Sai Praneeth, who has been struggling with his form, will also be contesting in this.
In the doubles, the situation is easier with World No. 7 pair and reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallist duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have a more or less clear road towards the medal as they don’t have to worry about meeting either the Minions (Kevin Sukamuljo/Marcus Gideon) or the Daddies (Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan) from Indonesia.
Instead, they will have to play against Fikri/Maulana and reigning world champions Hoki/Kobayashi to keep a chance at a first-ever World Championships medal alive.
In the women’s doubles, CWG bronze medallist pair of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly will have to cross paths with the Malaysian duo of Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan in the second round, in what promises to be a heated clash that won’t be easy for them.