2016 All England Championships: Parupalli Kashyap faces a tough opening test, Sindhu-Xuerui contest likely in 2nd round
The draws for the 2016 edition of the prestigious All England Championships were announced on Tuesday. India will have a total number of 6 participants in the Singles category and 4 in Doubles.
Here’s a look at draws for each of them:
1.Men’s Singles: Kashyap faces the biggest challenge
Four Men’s Singles contenders will be part of the main draw and among them, Paruaplli Kashyap will be the one who will face the biggest test in the opening round itself. The 29-year-old, who skipped the South Asian Games, owing to an abdominal strain will be up against Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in the opening round itself.
Kidambi Srikanth will take on Rajiv Ouseph in his opening round clash while Ajay Jayaram will face off against NG Ka Long and the fourth contender in the Men’s Singles- HS Prannoy- will face off against Xue Song of China.
Srikanth could have a tricky second round contest where he may play Kento Momota of Japan. Jayaram has a possibility of playing Jan O Jorgenson in his second round contest, but it is Prannoy who would face the toughest test ahead as he could face reigning World champion Chen Long as early as the second round.
2.Women’s Singles- Saina faces the biggest test
After finishing runners-up in last year’s competition, Saina Nehwal will hope to do one better this time and will take on Michelle Li in the opening round of the competition. However, she will come into the event with little or no match practice at all and it would be interesting to see how much time it would take for her to settle into her groove.
PV Sindhu, whose best performance at this event has been reaching as far as the 2nd round (2013), will hope to do well, following her good start to the season, which has seen her win the Malaysian Grand Prix Gold and reach the final of the South Asian Games, earlier this month. She will take on Porntip Buranaprasetsuk and faces the proposition of taking on China’s Li Xuerui in the 2nd round.
3.Men’s Doubles: Can Attri and Reddy punch above their weights?
In the Men’s Doubles, India will have just one pair competing, in the form of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy who will take on the experienced Malaysian duo of Kien Keat
KOO and Boon Heong TAN in the first round.
Presently ranked 20th in the world, it does look difficult for the duo to make the cut for the Rio Olympics, but if they can put in a strong performance in Birmingham, it will certainly push their case further to be rated as one of the most dangerous pairings on the circuit.
4.Women’s Doubles: Road to Rio begins here for Jwala and Ashwini
The upcoming few months will perhaps be the most period in the career of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. The pairing, presently ranked 14th in the world, will kickstart their All England campaign against the Dutch duo of Samantha Barning and Iris Tabeling in the opening round.
The pair have a lot of work ahead of them if they are to find themselves in the Top 8 of the rankings when the deadline for qualifying for Rio ends in May. They can definitely progress significantly towards making the cut, by putting up a strong showing in the All England Open, starting in a few weeks time.