The 2022 Badminton Asia Team Championships will be held at the Setia City Convention Center in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, from February 15 to 20.
The prestigious team event will be organized by Badminton Asia with the Badminton Association of Malaysia as the host organizer.
20-year-old Malvika Bansod will shoulder the responsibility of the women’s team. Malvika gained a fair bit of experience playing at the team championships.
Nagpur-based Malvika is the only player in the ten-member Indian women’s team who represented the country in the Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup. The prestigious team championships were held last year. While the Sudirman Cup was played in Finland, Thomas and Uber Cup took place in Denmark.
Good chance for Malvika, Aakarshi and Ashmita to prove themselves
Talented southpaw Malvika did well in both tournaments in the absence of PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. Malvika would like to use that experience in the Badminton Asia Team Championships to guide the young-looking Indian women’s squad.
Malvika was selected for the national side in 2020 but the women’s team was withdrawn due to the Covid pandemic as most players were not willing to travel then.
World No. 61 Malvika would like to maintain her recent brilliant form and win her singles match against Malaysia on February 16. The Indian team has been clubbed in Group Y along with hosts Malaysia and Japan.
India will play their second and last league match on Friday against Japan. India will have to win at least one league match to progress to the knockouts.
Syed Modi International finalists Malvika, world No. 56 Aakarshi Kashyap and Guwahati left-hander Ashmita Chaliha will play three singles for India. Pune teenager Tara Shah is the fourth singles player in the side.
Each tie consists of three singles and two doubles. There are three doubles pairs in the Indian team. Simran Singhi-Khushi Gupta and V Nila-Arubala are likely to get chances against Malaysia in their opening outing. Another pair, Aarthi Sara Sunil and Riza Mahreen, completed the team.
Indian men’s team to face Korea in opener on Tuesday
World Championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen will aim to put up a solid showing as India face Korea in their opening Group A clash on Tuesday.
With seniors like Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth skipping the event, the onus will be on Indian Open champion Lakshya Sen to lead the men’s side.
20-year-old Lakshya was part of the team that had claimed bronze in the 2020 edition after losing to Indonesia in the semifinals.
Odisha Open winners Kiran George and Mithun Manjunath are also likely to play key roles in the continental tournament.
Last edition’s bronze medallist India has been clubbed with three-time defending champions Indonesia, Korea and Hong Kong.
Upcoming men’s doubles pair Ravikhrisna PS and Sankar Prasad Udayakumar, who reached the Odisha Open final last month, will be hoping to continue their good run.
Manipur duo Manjit Singh Khwairakpam and Dingku Singh Konthoujam will be hoping for a good outing in their maiden Asian tournament.
Teams finishing in the top two positions in each group of both the men’s and women’s events will qualify for the Thomas and Uber Cup finals in Bangkok. Thailand will host the mega event from May 17 to 22.
The Indian men’s team had won two bronzes but the eves had never returned with a medal from the tournament.
The championships lost some sheen with the withdrawal of Thailand, Chinese Taipei and China due to concerns over rising cases of COVID-19.
India’s first round matches
Group A: India vs Korea (February 15)
Group Y: India vs Malaysia (February 16)
Singles: Lakshya Sen, Mithun Manjunath, Kiran George, Raghu M
Doubles: PS Ravi Krishna-UdayKumar ShankarPrasad, Amsakarunan Hariharan-Ruban Kumar, Dingku Singh Konthoujam-Manjit Singh Khwairakpam
Singles: Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap, Ashmita Chaliha, Tara Shah
Doubles: Simran Singhi-Khushi Gupta, V Nila-Arubala, Aarthi Sara Sunil-Riza Mahreen.