Thirteen Indian players will be participating in the 104th edition of the Yonex All England Badminton Championships which will be held in the city of Birmingham from 4th March to 9th March. This USD 400,000 tournament is a Superseries Premier category tournament and is the second tournament in this category after Malaysia Open in January.
In women’s singles category star Indian shuttler and World No. 7 Saina Nehwal will start her campaign on 5th March against the World No. 20 Scottish shuttler Kirsty Gilmour.
Saina, who ended her 15 months title drought after winning the Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold tournament last month, needs to be at her best in this tournament if she needs to edge past the top shuttlers of the world.
If Saina gets past Gilmour in the opener then she could well play the former World No. 2 veteran German shuttler Juliane Schenk in the next round.
Indian teenage badminton sensation and 2013 World Championships bronze medalist P.V Sindhu, who recently made it to the top 10 of the World rankings will lock horns with the World ranked 33 Chinese shuttler Yu Sun in the first round.
Sindhu is currently at 9th spot in the latest BWF World Rankings. The 18-year-old, who recently won the All India Open Senior Ranking in Kochi, currently has 55,752 points and is just 3,928 points behind the Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal.
Sindhu could well face the Olympic silver medalist and World No. 2 Wang Yihan in the second round. Sindhu has a win-loss record of 1-1 against the former World No. 1 Chinese shuttler.
In women’s singles qualification, World No. 71 Saili Rane will be in action as she will take on the World No. 44 Chole Magee of Ireland in the first round. Rane needs to win two matches to make it through to the main draw of the tournament.
In men’s singles category of the tournament two Indian players will be in action. Indian No. 1 and World ranked 18 Parupalli Kashyap has a tough task in the opening round as he will take on the World No. 5 Kenichi Tago of Japan.
Kashyap’s performance in the past few months has been quite inconsistent as he has not even made it to the quarter-finals in the last 6 tournaments.
Rising Indian star and current World No. 21 K. Srikanth will play the World No. 15 Japanese shuttler Kento Momota in the first round of the tournament.
In men’s singles qualification top seed and World No. 34 Anand Pawar will play the Indonesian Andre Tedjono in the opener.
None of the other Indian players have got the entry in the main draw of the remaining categories. However, a host of Indians will be vying for the main draw by participating in the qualifiers.
In men’s doubles qualification the young Indian pair of S. Sanjeeth and Jagadish Yadav will play the Malaysian pair of Teik Chai and Soon hock in the first round.
In mixed doubles qualifications two Indian pairs will be battling it out to make it through to the main draw of the tournament.
Top seeds in the qualification Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa will take on the local pair of Matthew Nottingham and Lauren Smith in the opening round whereas another Indian pair of Abhishek Ahlawat and Kristi Das will fight it out with the Indonesian pair of Markus Gideon and Rizki Amelia.Published 28 Feb 2014, 13:40 IST