Rio Olympics 2016: Analysing the badminton draw for Indian shuttlers and their possible knockout opponents
A look at who the Indian shuttlers could face at the business end of the competition.
The badminton draws for Rio 2016 were announced on Tuesday at the Rio Centro Pavillion in Brazil, the venue for the event at the Olympic Games, that start next month.
Most of the seven-member Indian contingent that received a simple draw, barring perhaps the Men’s doubles pairing of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy, who have been put in the same group as the number 2 seeds, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
Here’s an analysis of the Indian section of the draw:
Kidambi Srikanth, the lone Indian competitor in the Men’s Singles section, finds himself in an easy draw, with Henri Hurskeinen of Sweden and Lino Munoz of Mexico. The Indian has faced the Swede, ranked 50th in the world at present just once during his career, at the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold, where he lost to him in three tight games.
The 23-year-old should certainly fancy his chances of topping his group and progressing through to the pre-quarterfinal stage of the competition, where he could be up against Jan O Jorgenson of Denmark and if he does overcome that challenge then Lin Dan will await the Indian in the quarters.
It promises to be an exciting few days for Srikanth at Rio and he will certainly need to be on top of his game at all points.
Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu from the Women’s section received relatively simpler draws. The former, seeded 5th in the competition was placed in Group G and will be up against Maria Ulitina of Ukraine and Lohaynny Vicente in her group, while the latter has Michelle Li of Canada to tackle, an opponent against whom she leads 3-1 in the head-to-head.
However, bigger challenges will await the duo from the Round of 16 stage. Saina is likely to face Porntip Buranaprasetsuk at the point and following that, could come up against reigning champion Li Xuerui in the quarters and then defending World champion Carolina Marin in the semifinals.
For Sindhu ,on the other hand, the road to her first Olympic medal could get tough from the Round of 16 stage onwards, where she will most probably face one of the trickiest players on the circuit at present- Tzu Ying Tai of Chinese Taipei and then face off against 2012 Olympic silver medalist Wang Yihan in the semifinals.
The road ahead seems tough for the Indian duo and they will surely have to be on top of their game at all points in order to stand on the podium on the 20th of August.
Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy will perhaps be the two Indian shuttlers who will consider themselves the most unfortunate as far as the draw was concerned.
The duo were put into Group D, which has the likes of 6th ranked Chai Biao and Hong Wei, the 2015 World Championships bronze medalists- Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa and the 2015 World Championships gold medalists and second seed Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan from Indonesia.
Most predicted the duo to have an uphill task at Rio and this draw only further confirms it.
If Attri and Reddy received a tough draw, it wasn’t as bad a case for Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who were pooled into Group A, which has the likes of Netherland’s Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek and Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai from Thailand. The real tough match for the duo in the group will be against the top seed Japanese pairing of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan.
The duo should fancy their chances in two out of the three matches and hopefully carry that confidence into the quarters and go beyond. They could be up against the 4th seeds Jung Kyung-eon and Shin S in the quarters.
Among the rest of the contingent, Lee Chong Wei got an easy draw and he will also get a bye in the Round of 16 stage so will Lin Dan. Carolina Marin will also progress through to the quarterfinal and is likely to face either Sung Ji Hyun or Kirsty Gilmour at that stage.
It promises to be a sizzling 10 days of action at Rio and it all start from the 11th of August at the Rio Centro Pavillion courts.