What's the story?
India's top two women's shuttlers, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu will skip the upcoming Asia Team Championships to focus on the race to Tokyo Olympics 2020. The men's and women's squads were announced for the continental tourney which will take place in Manila from 11th February. Sai Praneeth will captain the men's team while the duo of Ashmita Chaliha and Malvika Bansod will lead the women's team.
The Badminton Asia Team Championships began in the year 2016 and so far, two editions of the tournament have happened. Indonesia has been the most successful nation at the event with two gold medals and a bronze medal to its name while India has only won one bronze medal in the two tourneys.
The heart of the matter
As reported by PTI, a young brigade of female shuttlers will represent India at the Asia Team Championships. Apart from Chaliha and Bansod, the women's squad also features Akarshi Kashyap and Gayatri Gopichand.
Former World Championship bronze medalist, Sai Praneeth will lead the men's team and he will have the back of former number 1 player, Kidambi Srikanth. The trio of HS Prannoy, Subhankar Dey and Lakshya Sen is also present in the squad. The Indian men's side had won the bronze medal in 2016 hence, they will have the onus of adding medals to India's tally this year.
As far as the women's division is concerned, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal skipped the tourney because they already have points from last year's Sudirman Cup and won't benefit much even if they play.
In the doubles category, the pairs of Dhruv Kapila/MR Arjun and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty will join the men's singles stars. Whereas senior national champions Ashwini Bhat/Shikha Gautam and the pair of K Maneesha/Rutaparna Panda will play in the women's doubles category.
Men: B Sai Praneeth, K Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Subhankar Dey, Lakshya Sen, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun.
Women: Ashmita Chaliha, Aakarshi Kashyap, Malvika Bansod, Gayatri Gopichand, Ashwini Bhat, Shikha Gautam, Rutaparna Panda and K Maneesha
It will be intriguing to see if India can secure a medal at the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2020.