In what seems to be the golden generation of Indian badminton, the country’s shuttlers have achieved yet another feat for the maiden time. For the first time, as many as six Indian male badminton players are in the top 50 in the world.
In the latest rankings released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Kidambi Srikanth (12), Ajay Jayaram (19), H. S. Prannoy (25), B. Sai Praneeth (36), Sameer Verma (43) and Sourabh Varma (45), are all simultaneously ranked amongst the top 50 in the world.
Ajay Jayaram, who bowed out in the quarter-final of the Hong Kong Super Series, jumped four places to 19th. He was also the runner-up at the Dutch Open in October as he lost out to Tzu Wei Wang of Chinese Taipei in the final.
Despite crashing out of the Hong Kong Super Series in the pre-quarters, H. S. Prannoy jumped two places to be ranked 25th in the world.
Kidambi Srikanth, who reached the quarter-finals at the Rio Olympics, has been out with injury for a while that has seen a dip in the rankings. The former world no. 3 slipped out of the top 10 in March this year and is currently ranked 12th. He gave the China and Hong Kong Open a miss and is preparing for the Macau Open.
While the other five were already in there, Sourabh Varma jumped 12 places to break into the top 50 after his superlative performance at the recently concluded Bitburger Open where he finished as the runner-up. The 23-year-old also clinched the Chinese Taipei Open in October. However, in the Bitburger Open final, he suffered a 19-21 20-22 loss against China’s Shi Yuqi in a 45-minute duel.
Sourabh’s younger brother, Sameer, claimed his first Super Series semi-final berth, earlier on Friday in the Hong Kong Open. He also reached the semi-finals at the Bitburger Open where he crashed out eventually. His good run of the performances has seen him positioned at 43rd in the world.
Sai Praneeth, who had won the Canada Open in July, is ranked 36th in the world. Most recently he crashed out of the French Open first round after giving a tough fight. He also lost to third seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark 18-21 18-21 in the first round of the Hong Kong Open.