Indian shuttlers face uphill task in quest for All England glory | Badminton News

BIRMINGHAM: Back from injuries and struggling with indifferent form, India’s commuters will have to play out of their skins to end the country’s agonizing wait for a title at the All England leagues starting here on Tuesday.
It’s been 22 years since India won the coveted title when Pullela Gopichand (2001) followed legendary Prakash Padukone (1980) to claim the honour.
While Lakshya Sen came close to winning the crown when he reached the final in the last edition and Saina Nehwal was runner-up in the 2015 edition, other Indians including the two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhucould not go beyond the last four of the prestigious event.
This time around things will only be tougher as Sen and Sindhu, since returning from a long injury absence, have started the new season smoothly, having made early outings in Malaysia and the Open. ‘India.
World No. 12 Sen enters the event after a shock loss to world No. 41 Christo Popov of France in the first round of the German Open, while Sindhu, in desperate measure, parted ways with the Korean Park Tae-sang a few weeks before the event.
Sen will take on Chinese Taipei’s fifth-seeded “Mr. Consistent” Chou Tien Chen, while Sindhu will take on tricky Chinese Zhang Yi Man, who is 1-1 against her.
The former world champion is set to meet fifth-seeded He Bing Jiao of China if she clears the opening hurdle, while nemesis and third-seeded Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei could be her likely opponent. in quarters.
If there’s one Indian who could be the dark horse, it’s the world No.9 HS Prannoywho has been consistent and picked up big wins against top players, the latest being Malaysian world number 4 Lee Zii Jia at the Asian Mixed Team Badminton Championship (BATC) in February.
Prannoy will start his campaign against Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei, while Kidambi Srikanth, who has also been struggling for some time, will face Frenchman Toma Junior Popov.
Although none of the singles players are ranked this time, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy And Chirag Shetty hope to live up to their sixth seed, especially after foes and first-round opponents Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia pulled out at the last moment.
Satwik is making his comeback after recovering from a hip injury he suffered at the Indian Open in January and a lot will depend on his performance.
The world No. 6 pair had reached the semi-finals of the season opener of the Malaysian Open.
Among the other Indians in scrum, MR Arjun, who has recovered from injury, will team up with his men’s doubles partner Dhruv Kapila to take on China’s Ren Xiang Yu and Tan Qiang.
Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, who were semi-finalists in 2022, will also be looking to dazzle after their good show at BATC when they open against the seventh-seeded Thai pair of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.
Former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal, who gave a glimpse of her former self at the Indian Open, will meet China’s Han Yue.
The mixed pair of Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto and the female pair of Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam are also in the scrum.


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