India will field its largest, strongest contingent at the World Badminton Championships in Indonesia, providing them their best chance of winning medals at the prestigious tournament next month.
It is for the first time that India will have two players within the top 5 -- Saina Nehwal (World No 2) and Kidambi Srikanth (World No 3) as they lead the Indian charge at the Championship which gets underway at Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta from August 10.
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had ended India's 28-year-old medal drought at the World Championship when they won the women's doubles bronze in 2011 and then singles player PV Sindhu clinched the bronze medal twice in the 2013 and 2014 editions.
However, a medal at the world meet has eluded Olympic bronze medallist Nehwal, who has not progressed beyond reaching the quarter-finals five times. The 25-year-old got a bye in the first round and will start her campaign in the second round, taking on the winner of the match between Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi and Kati Tolmoff of Estonia.
Second seed Nehwal, who won the Syed Modi GPG and India Super Series this season, is likely to take on 14th seed Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in the pre-quarterfinals. If she can cross that hurdle, it is likely to be a battle against formidable sixth seed Wang Yihan of China.
In the men's singles, third seed Srikanth, who won two titles this season at Swiss Open and India Super Series, will face Michael Fariman of Australia in the first round, while Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, seeded 10th, will square up against Erik Meijs of The Netherlands.
Indonesian Masters Grand Prix Gold winner HS Prannoy, seeded 11th, who was out of action because of a foot injury, will make a comeback at the event with a match against Alex Yuwan Tjong of Brazil.
Sindhu, who had a difficult season marred by injury and poor form, got a bye in the opening round and will take on the winner of the match between Denmark's Line Kjaersfeldt and Irish Chloe Magee in the second round. A win will put her against the former world no 1 Li Xuerui of China.