Fifteen Indian players will be participating in the 105th edition of the Yonex All England Badminton Championships which will be held in the city of Birmingham from March 3rd to March 8th. This USD 500,000 tournament is a Superseries Premier category tournament and is the first tournament of the kind in 2015. Started in 1898, All England Championships is one of the oldest and most prestigious tournament in the Badminton. Initially called as "The Open English Championships", this tournament was the unofficial World Championships of the sport until 1977. Yonex is the official sponsor of this tournament for last 31 years.
In the women’s singles category, two Indian players will be in action. Star shuttler and World No. 3 Saina Nehwal will start her quest against a qualifier on 4th March.
Saina, who grabbed the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold title in January after defeating reigning World Champion Carolina Marin in the final could well play the World No.5 Chinese shuttler Wang Yihan in the Quarterfinals. Saina’s record against the London Olympics silver medalist Wang is not very impressive as she has a win-loss record of 1-8 against the 27-year old Chinese ace.
So if Saina wants to win the All England Title for the first time in her career, then she needs to get past top Chinese shuttlers.
Indian teenage badminton sensation and two time World Championships bronze medalist P.V Sindhu, who is currently the World No. 9 will lock horns with the World ranked 6 Spanish shuttler Carolina Marin in the first round. It will be a tough first round battle for the young Indian ace as she has lost to Marin 3 out of 4 times in her career.
In men’s singles, 4th seed Kidambi Srikanth will battle out with the World No. 14 Japanese shuttler Kento Momota in the opener. Srikanth has shown tremendous growth as a player in the last 14-16 months. The year 2014 was an incredible year for this 22-year old Guntur born player. Srikanth, who was ranked 47th in the first week of January 2014 ended the year ranked 4th in the world.
Srikanth, who is currently ranked 5th stunned the two time Olympic and five time World Champion Lin Dan in the finals of China Open Superseries Premier in November,last year. This epic clash could well be repeated if both players manage to make it to the quarterfinal stage of this tournament.
World No. 12 Parupalli Kashyap, who clinched the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold title in January by defeating Srikanth in the finals will take on the 6th seeded Taipei shuttler Chou Tien Chien in the opening round. It will be the third meeting between these two players. Kashyap has got the better of his Taipei opponent in both the previous encounters.
H.S Prannoy will take on Frenchman Brice Leverdez in the first match. If World No. 18 Prannoy reaches the next round, then he could most probably face the World ranked 4 Korean shuttler Wan Ho Son.
Kashyap and Srikanth are in the top half of this category, whereas Prannoy is in the bottom half.
In men’s singles qualification, Anand Pawar will take on Malaysia’s Wei Feng Chong, whereas Ajay Jayaram will play the Taipei shuttler Wei Tzu Wang.
In men’s doubles, young Indian pair of B.Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri will take on the highly experienced and 7th seeded Chinese pair of Biao Chai and Wei Hong in the first round. In men’s doubles qualification, the young Indian pair of S. Sanjeeth and Jagadish Yadav will play the French pair of Jacco Arends and Jella Maas in the opener. Another Indian pair of Guru Prasad and Venkatesh Prasad will lock horns with the Indonesian pair of Markis Kido and Agripinna Prima.
In women’s doubles, 2011 World Championships bronze medallist and World ranked 22 pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa will be in action against the World No. 26 Malaysian pair of Cho Soong Fie and Amelia Alicia in the opening round.