Qualification for Badminton at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics - Tough road ahead for the Indian stars
With Indian badminton getting a silver and bronze at the last 2 Olympics through the exploits of PV Sindhu (Rio Olympics 2016) and Saina Nehwal (London Olympics 2012), the Indian sports lovers are having lot of expectations from the Indian badminton contingent in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The consistent performances of the Indian badminton stars across the 5 events for the last couple of years has only enhanced this expectation.
Sindhu and Sai Praneeth's gold and bronze medals in the World Championships has also highlighted the growing power of Indian badminton. But with the qualification period for the Tokyo Olympics ending in April 2020, there is a lot of catching up to be done for some of the star players to qualify for the Olympics.
Following are the qualification scenarios for the Indian badminton stars across the 5 events.
Badminton as a discipline at the Tokyo Olympics in men's singles is limited to 2 players per country as long as both the players are in the top 16 ranked players. Otherwise a country can have one representative at the most, that too if they are ranked within the top 38 players including host nation and Tripartite Commission quota places.
If we consider the current "Race to Tokyo" rankings (which takes into account the tournaments between May 2019 and April 2020), we have 6 Indians in the top 30 but only one of them (Sai Praneeth at No. 11) is in the top 16. The remaining five - namely Sourabh Verma (No. 21), Parupalli Kashyap (No. 22), Kidambi Srikanth (No. 26), HS Prannoy (No. 29) and Lakshya Sen (No. 30) have to perform exceptionally well in the next 3 months for India to have 2 representatives in the men's singles badminton event at the Tokyo Olympics.
The qualification criteria for the women's singles is same as that of men's singles with 2 players per country eligible to participate only if they are in the top 16 ranked players. Here Sindhu (at No. 6) is well placed to qualify but a big struggle awaits Saina Nehwal as she is currently languishing at the 22nd spot. Although the road ahead is difficult, we certainly hope that Saina with her grit and determination would be able to overcome this challenge.