Hopes rest on Saina, Sindhu

Hopes rest on Saina, Sindhu

Hopes rest on Saina, Sindhu

An exuberant P V Sindhu would look to improve the colour of her medal even as a fit-again Saina Nehwal eyes her maiden podium finish when a confident Indian badminton team starts its campaign in the World Championship here on Monday.

Sindhu, fresh from a bronze in Glasgow Commonwealth Games, would try to ensure that she ends up better than third, a position she managed in the previous edition which made her the first Indian to win a medal at the prestigious event.

Saina, on the other hand, is back in action after taking a break to recover from the leg injury she sustained during her Australian Open triumph in June, as a result of which she was forced out of the Commonwealth Games.

Seeded seventh, Saina has been handed a first-round bye and she will open her campaign on Tuesday against the winner of the match between New Zealand’s Anna Rankin and Russia’s Natalia Perminova. Sindhu, seeded 11th, has also received a first-round bye and will start against the winner of the match between Russia’s Olga Golovanova and Bulgaria’s Linda Zetcheri.

In men’s singles, Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Parupalli Kashyap will be India’s best bet for a medal. He will be up against Germany’s Dieter Domke in the first round on Monday.

Among others in the fray, Ajay Jayram will face fourth seed Kanichi Tago of Japan in his opening match, while the fast-rising K Srikanth will square off against Slovenia’s Iztok Utrosa.

Another strong medal contender for India is the women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa, who had won a bronze in the 2011 edition of the Championship. The duo has got a walkover into the second round. The pair is now up for a stiff fight as the fifth-seeded Chinese team of Quing Tian and Yunlei Zhao awaits the two in the second round.

Ponappa will also be seen in action in the mixed doubles event, pairing with Tarun Kona. The pair will face Anders Kristiansen and Julie Houmann.