The big news this week in Indian badminton is the return of PV Sindhu at the prestigious Badminton Asia Championships being held in Wuhan, China. The 19-year-old had been out of action since February due to a stress fracture on her left foot. The injury-induced hiatus saw her falling out of the top 10 in the BWF rankings as well.
Saina, Sindhu, Kashyap lead Indian badminton challenge
Sindhu started her campaign on a winning note at the Continental Championships on Wednesday. With Saina Nehwal and Sindhu both participating in this tournament, India’s medal chances look bright. But they will be tested by the trio of top-ranking Chinese – Li Xuerui, Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian. Sindhu can meet Xuerui as early as the quarters. If she can get past that hurdle, Wang Yihan can be her potential semi-final opponent.
Saina too has the dangerous Chinese Taipei shuttler Tai Tzu Ying in her quarter of the draw while Shixian Wang waits in the semi-finals.
In the absence of Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy who withdrew due to injuries, Parupalli Kashyap is the only Indian representation in men’s singles at this continental meet. Kashyap has had two good wins so far in this tournament and is looking to progress deep into the draw. The Indian can lock horns with second seed and defending champion Lin Dan in the semi-finals.
India’s doubles challenge is led by last year’s bronze medallists Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa who unfortunately has already crashed out in the first round.
Gurusaidutt triumphs in ranking meet
Meanwhile, a resurgent RMV Gurusaidutt boosted his confidence further by winning the All India Senior Ranking Badminton title in Bangalore. After three gruelling weeks of back-to-back Superseries events, most of the top Indian badminton players took a break in order to focus on their training for the Badminton Asia Championships.
And it was Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Gurusaidutt who contested the final with B Sai Praneeth. Gurusaidutt beat Sai Praneeth 18-21, 21-17, 21-16 to take the title.
The women’s singles crown went to Neha Pandit who defeated Reshma Karthik 21-17, 21-19.
Men’s Doubles: Rupesh Kumar & Sanave Thomas beat Arun George & Nanda Gopal 21-19, 13-21, 21-12.
Women’s Doubles: J Meghana & K Maneesha beat Dhanya Nair & Mohita Sahdev 21-9, 21-11.
Mixed Doubles: Sanyam Shukla & K Maneesha beat Shlok Ramachandran & J Meghana 19-21, 21-16, 21-17.
Saina Nehwal back to World No. 1 ranking
Saina Nehwal regained the World No. 1 ranking last week as Chinese Li Xuerui dropped to the third spot. The Indian who admitted that maintaining the top ranking will be tough, rose to the numero uno spot for the second time in her career. Meanwhile, PV Sindhu dropped three places to be 12th in latest BWF rankings.
In men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth holds on to his fourth spot while Parupalli Kashyap has risen one spot to be 14th. HS Prannoy however, has dropped one place to be 15th. Also, RMV Gurusaidutt was one of the biggest movers of the week. He jumped 7 places to be 37th in the latest rankings.