Commonwealth Games 2018: PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth eye gold in badminton
PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth will lead the Indian challenge in badminton at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.other sports Updated: Mar 27, 2018 11:00 IST
With a squad boasting of the likes of PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, Indian shuttlers should return with a rich haul of medals from Gold Coast. They will undoubtedly be the favourites, considering their depth and experience.
The 2010 edition champion, Saina will be eager to make her mark after failure at All England, while Sindhu would want to turn her 2014 Glasgow bronze into gold. India have a rich history in Commonwealth Games badminton, especially since the 2010 edition at home, winning multiple medals in the discipline.
Typically, there will be six badminton events at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre: men’s and women’s singles competitions; men’s, women’s and mixed doubles events alongside the mixed team event.
Srikanth leads the charge
The mixed team event will see Srikanth leading India’s challenge with the talented HS Prannoy complementing his compatriot in men’s singles. In women’s singles, Sindhu and Saina will shuffle roles as the team will pin its hopes on them.
The rising pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwik Sairaj will be debuting at the Games, while Pranaav Jerry Chopra will combine with N Sikki Reddy for mixed doubles clashes.
The pair of Sikki and Ashwini Ponnappa will look to continue their run and the latter will hope to clinch a third CWG women’s doubles medal in a row.
“We have a strong chance to win the competition this year as our players have surged through the rankings and will give their best shot at this prestigious event to bring laurels for the country,” Badminton Association of India (BAI) general secretary Anup Narang said.
“It was tough to choose these players but after a long discussion we have chosen the 10 best to compete at the Games and are positive that they will make the country proud.”
The teams were chosen based on world rankings. As the top seed, India were allocated the top spot in a relatively easy Group A with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Scotland and should be able to enter the quarter-finals as table-toppers.
However, their real competition will come against England (Group C) and Malaysia (Group D) in the knockouts.
India will open against Sri Lanka on April 5 and will face Pakistan later in the day. They will take on Scotland on April 6. After the mixed team event gets over on April 9, all shuttlers will move on to their respective individual events from April 10.
The biggest name missing from the squad is reigning champion Parupalli Kashyap, who felt that injuries hindered his selection.
“Injuries took a toll on my qualification as I couldn’t get my ranking up in time but the credit goes to the players who qualified and are worthy of their spot. Srikanth and Prannoy have been exceptional in the last six months and deserve to represent India. I hope the team returns with medals,” said Kashyap.
In the last edition in Glasgow, India returned with a gold, silver and two bronze.
While Kashyap won the men’s singles gold, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini --- who had claimed gold in 2010 New Delhi --- brought home the women’s doubles silver. RMV Gurusaidutt (men’s singles) and Sindhu settled for bronze.
In the mixed team event, India failed to clinch a medal after losing 2-3 to Singapore in the bronze-medal playoff.
With a strong squad this time, one would hope they return with medals, hopefully gold.
First Published: Mar 27, 2018 10:42 IST