P V Sindhu, other Indian shuttlers face tough challenge in Badminton Asia Championship medal hunt

The fact that BAC is the last major event to award Olympic qualification ranking points adds another layer to the competition, which will see some high-octane battles between the top shuttlers this week.
Last Updated : 08 April 2024, 08:57 IST
Last Updated : 08 April 2024, 08:57 IST

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Ningbo, China: Star Indian shuttlers, including PV Sindhu, will face a tough test against some of the world's best when they begin their medal hunt at the Badminton Asia Championships (BAC) which will start with the qualifiers on Tuesday.

The last-minute withdrawal of world No. 1 pair and defending champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty might have taken a bit of sheen away but it will put the onus on the singles stars to put their hands up during the continental individual championships.

The fact that it is the last major event to award Olympic qualification ranking points adds another layer to the competition, which will see some high-octane battles between the top shuttlers this week.

Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, has shown signs of regaining her old touch when she dragged the likes of Tokyo Games gold medallist Chen Yufei to three games in French Open quarters.

On a comeback trail after recovering from injury, Sindhu's frustration of not being able to close out narrow matches was evident when she smashed her racquet following a razor-thin loss against Thailand's Supanida Katethong in Spain Masters.

Sindhu is still a work in progress and this week she will get another chance to test her game in a field which will have women's top seed An Seyoung, Olympic champion Chen Yufei, Tai Tzu-Ying, Akane Yamaguchi and He Bingjiao.

However, the former world champion will look to focus on her first-round clash against world No. 33 Goh Jin Wei of Malaysia.

Sindhu has a 4-1 record against the Malaysian and a favourable result might see her face sixth seed Chinese Han Yue, whom the Indian has recently beaten for the fifth time at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in February.

If she can cross the hurdle, then it could be Japan's Yamaguchi or Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon next.

Aakarshi Kashyap will be the other Indian in women's singles and she will open against Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan.

In men's singles, there are plenty of matchups with Lakshya Sen, who made two semifinal finishes at the French Open and All England Championships and is set to almost seal his Paris qualification, having the task of taming top seed Shi Yu Qi of China.

Lakshya will take inspiration from his performance at the Asian Games when he defeated the Chinese in the team championships.

Seventh seed HS Prannoy, a 2023 world championships bronze medallist, will take on China's Lu Guang Zu. The Indian has been troubled by a gut issue and hasn't been at his best this season. Prannoy doesn't have a good result against the Chinese and he will hope to avenge his three losses.

World No. 27 Kidambi Srikanth, who missed the Paris bus after being inconsistent for some time, will have a tough task at hand when he faces world No. 3 and second seed Anthony Ginting, who had reached the All-England Championships final this year.

Young Indian shuttler Priyanshu Rajawat will meet Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia in his opening round.

In Satwik-Chirag's absence, the Indian pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila will hope to go deep when they open against seventh-seeded Chinese Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi. Krishna Prasad Garaga and Sai Pratheek K are also in the fray.

Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa, who are ahead in the fight for the Olympic race, will face Indonesian combination of Febriana Dwipuji Kusuma and Amallia Cahaya Pratiwi, while Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand take on China's Liu Sheng Shu and Tan Ning, seeded fourth.

Published 08 April 2024, 08:57 IST

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