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India set to have five men’s singles shuttlers in top 20 for the first time ever

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
6.20K   //    24 Sep 2017, 22:33 IST

srikanth kidambi sai praneeth pullela gopichand hs prannoy
The shining stars of Indian badminton along with coach Pullela Gopichand

The Indian contingent might not have had a favourable result at the Japan Open Super Series that ended in Tokyo on Sunday. But the country’s men’s singles players have ensured that Indian badminton is all set to climb to yet another high when the new BWF World Rankings are released on September 28, 2017 as five men will feature in the top 20 for the first time in the history of the sport.

It was the men who again outshone the women in the singles department with Srikanth Kidambi and HS Prannoy making it to the quarter-finals while PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal fell in the second round.

Both of them collected 5040 points by dint of their performances. Since Srikanth defended his quarter-final points earned from last year, he remains static at the eighth place in the world rankings with 58583 points.

Prannoy had bowed out in the second round last year, so the 5040 points this year will take his total tally to 48735. It will push the currently 19th ranked Prannoy to 15th in next week’s rankings.

The Singapore Open champion Sai Praneeth was ousted in the first round this year by Korean qualifier Lee Dong Keun which was a repetition of the same performance he had last year in Tokyo. So, Sai remains unchanged at 17th with 48360 points.

Sameer Verma’s ranking graph continues its upward trajectory. The 22-year-old, who reached a career-high 21st this week, will jump a further two places to 19th following his second round appearance at the Japan Open that gave him 3600 points.

Ajay Jayaram, who has not played since the World Championships in August, will hold on to the 20th spot with 45835 points.

Also read: Japan Open 2017: Disappointing defeats for Srikanth and Prannoy, Chopra-Reddy keep Indian hopes alive

Consistent performances throughout the season

This achievement follows a season of consistent performances from the Indian men’s singles exponents. After the arrival of the Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo, the men have broken new ground with Sai clinching the Singapore Open Superseries and Srikanth Kidambi registering back-to-back wins at the Indonesia Open Superseries and the Australian Open Superseries.

Sameer Verma and HS Prannoy too have chipped in with a couple of Grand Prix Gold titles at the Syed Modi International and the US Open respectively, besides Sai’s triumph at the Thailand Open.

It was thus only a matter of time before all of them would be ranked inside the top 20 together.

Also read: BWF Rankings: 14 Indians in top 100 of men's singles for the first time


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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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