The Indian Badminton contingent has set a benchmark with two medals in consecutive Olympic Games – at London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The Indian shuttlers' success at the colossal event has raised expectations from fans, critics and players alike.
With the Tokyo Olympics round the corner, the draw for badminton was released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
Home favorite Kento Momota is the top seed in the men’s singles while Tai Tzu-Ying has been awarded the top billing in the women’s singles (based on their world rankings).
The Indian badminton contingent will be spearheaded by PV Sindhu, with B Sai Praneeth making the cut as the lone men’s singles player. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have qualified for the men’s doubles.
Women's Singles draw
Undoubtedly, all eyes will be on 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist and World No 6 PV Sindhu, who is placed in group J. She will be up against Cheung Ngan Yi (HKG) and Ksenia Polikarpova (ISR) in the round-robin stage.
In the knockouts, Sindhu could potentially run into Akane Yamaguchi, who is drawn in the same half, while she could be meeting Nozomi Okuhara (JPN), Chen Yufei (CHN) and Tai Tzu-ying (TPE) in the later stages of the competition.
Men's singles draw
In what could be an easy draw for World No. 13 Sai Praneeth, the lone Indian male shuttler can be expected to cruise past Mark Caljouw (NED) and Misha Zilberman (ISR) in the initial stages.
Sai Praneeth's road to the final will see him face up against Ng Ka Long Angus, Kento Momota (JPN), Viktor Axelsen (DEN), Anders Antonsen (DEN) and Chou Tien Chen(TPE).
Men's doubles draw
The 10th seeded doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have been handed a tough draw. The duo, drawn in Group A, will have to get it past the World No 1 pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia and the British duo of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy to get through to the knockout stages. The Indians pair will hope to finish in the top-two to advance to the second stage of the Olympic Games.
In what promises to be an exciting battle in the later stages of the tournament, Olympic bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen, former All England champion Shi Yu Qi and Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie will be in the same quarter of the knockout draw should they top their groups, according to seeding.
The defending Olympic champion Chen Long, whose groupmates are Spain’s Pablo Abian and Estonia’s Raul Must, is seeded to face All England champion Lee Zii Jia in the first knockout round.
What does the draw look like for top-seeded badminton stars?
In women’s singles, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying will have to fend off group challengers Thuy Linh Nguyen (Vietnam), Qi Xuefei (France) and Sabrina Jaquet (Switzerland), with the group winner set to have a bye in the first round of the knockout draw.
Although Tzu-Ying is in the same quarter as fifth seed Ratchanok Intanon and 14th seed Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, the top seed could have it easy before running into some of the best in business in the later stages of the tournament.
Egypt’s Doha Hany, the only player to compete in three categories, is drawn with top seed Chen Yu Fei and Turkey’s Neslihan Yigit.
The badminton stars will be in action at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 from July 24.