BWF World Championship 2019: Can the Indian contingent produce their best ever performance?
The 2019 Badminton World Championship will be held in Basel, Switzerland from 19th August till 25th August 2019. With the World Championship less than a week away, all the badminton lovers of India will be keen to know about India's chances in this year's Championship.
India's Performance in the Last Edition
In the 2018 World Championship, held in Nanjing, China, India's golden girl, PV Sindhu was the lone medal winner. She ended with a silver medal in the Women's singles event, after being beaten by Carolina Marin of Spain in the final. This was Sindhu's second consecutive silver medal in the World Championships. In 2017 also, she ended up with the silver medal, after being beaten in an epic final by Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.
The other Indian star player, Saina Nehwal was also beaten by Carolina Marin in the quarter finals of the women's singles event.
In the men's singles event, as many as four Indian shuttlers were in the main draw, but none of them could make a mark. The best performance came from Sai Praneeth, who reached the quarter finals. The rest of the men's singles players, including former world number one Kidambi Srikanth, lost in the initial rounds.
In the doubles and mixed doubles events also, the Indian pairs crashed out in the initial rounds.
Indian Contingent in this Year's Championship
Like last year's championships, this year too, the Indian contingent will be led by Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth in the women's and men's singles respectively.
Alongside Sindhu, in women's singles there will be World Number 8, Saina Nehwal, who will also be a force to reckon with. In the men's singles, there will H.S Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Sai Praneeth, alongside K Srikanth.
In the doubles events, India will be represented by three pairs each, in the men's and women's section, with an additional two pairs in the mixed doubles section. The men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chiraj Shetty, who are presently ranked ninth in the world, will hope to bring home India's first medal in men's doubles event.
With this fairly strong contingent, the Indian team will be hoping to put up a better show than last year, and win more medals.
Chances of Indian Players in the Various Categories
The draw of the tournament has already been declared. Based on the draw and the current form of the players, we try and analyse India's chances in the various categories.
In men's singles, India's number one, Srikanth will start of his campaign against Nhat Nyugen. In the initial three rounds, Srikanth is expected to have it easy. However in the quarter finals, he is most likely to face World Number 2 Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei. It will be a very difficult hurdle for Srikanth to cross, as he has not been in good form off late. However if he manages to beat Chou, then he will be able to win his first even World Championship medal.
The other three Indian shuttlers in the men's singles draw, have a very tough road ahead. They have to face higher ranked opponents in their initial rounds. 10th seed, Sameer Verma is most likely to face Chou Tien Chen in the third round. 15th seed Sai Praneeth is likely to face 6th seed Anthony Ginthing of Indonesia in the third round. HS Pranoy will most probably face the legendary Lin Dan, in the second round, if he is able to win his first round match.
Hence these three players will have to punch above their weight to progress to the later half of the tournament and win a medal. However all of them are very much capable of doing so, and on their day, they can beat anybody in the world.
In the women's singles section, the poster girls of Indian badminton, Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will be in action. If both Saina and Sindhu are able to reach the semifinals, then they will face each other for a place in the finals. However for this to happen, both have to be at the top of their game.
After two easy initial rounds, Saina Nehwal is likely to face Mia Blichfeldt in the third round. If she is able to go past her, then in the quarters, Saina will most probably face the rising Chinese star Chen Yufei, who is the current world number 4 and one of the favourites to win this tournament. Saina has to play her best badminton, in order to go past Chen Yufei.
Sindhu, on the other hand, has a very tough draw. She is likely to face Beiwen Zhang of USA in the third round and the great Tai Tzu Ying in the quarter finals. Both these matches will be very tough for Sindhu, and thus she needs to play her best badminton, in order to win her 5th World Championship medal.
The young and talented men's doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chiraj Shetty will go into this tournament as one of the dark horses. If they are able to replicate their Thailand Open form, then they can definitely win their first ever World Championship medal.
Alongside this pair, nine other Indian pairs are also participating in the doubles and mixed doubles categories.However, expecting any of these pairs to win a medal will be unrealistic.
However the experienced duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy in women's doubles, and Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in mixed doubles, can cause an upset or two and progress to the latter half of the tournament.