The Indian men’s and women’s teams have been handed a tough draw as Badminton Asia, on Tuesday, announced the draws for the fifth edition of the Badminton Asia Team Championships, scheduled for February 13-18 in Malaysia.
Both Indian teams have been drawn against Asian powerhouse China in their respective groups.
Placed in Group A, the men’s team, led by HS Prannoy in men’s singles and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in men’s doubles, will have to negotiate challenge from Hong Kong apart from China. Only the top two teams will advance to the knockout stage.
However, placed in Group W, the women’s team, led by PV Sindhu, has already been assured of a knockout berth as only China has been drawn in its group.
Like the previous edition, this edition of the Badminton Asia Team Championships will also be held in Shah Alam, Malaysia.
The tournament will also serve as a qualifiers for the prestigious Thomas Cup – the men’s team world cup in which India is currently the defending champion, and Uber Cup – the women’s team world cup.
A total of 15 teams in the men’s event and 11 in the women’s event will take part in the two Championships.
Last time, both Indian men’s and women’s teams were knockout in the group stages itself, but this time they will look for podium finishes.
The Badminton Asia Team Championships will also be a comeback event for Indian maestro PV Sindhu, who has been out for almost three months now because of a injury she sustained at the French Open last year.
Sindhu will lead the Indian women’s team in the company of experienced players like Ashwini Ponnappa, Gayatri Gopichand and debutant Anmol Kharb.
The men’s team will also send a full strength team, featuring Prannoy, Satwik and Chirag, and they will be aiming to better the colour of the medal India won in 2016 and 2020 before defending the Thomas Cup crown.
The best performance of the Indian women’s team at the event so far is a quarterfinal finish.