Currently playing in Manila, Phillippines, the Indian men's badminton squad opened their account in the ongoing biennial Badminton Asia Team Championships with a bang, thrashing Kazakhstan 4-1.
This tournament acts as a qualifier for the prestigious Thomas and Uber Cups and the points gathered here will be considered during Olympic qualifications as well. Starting things off on an extremely positive note, the Indian team scored a massive victory over Kazakhstan in their opening round Group B match.
Former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth showed signs of his former self as he took down Dimitry Panarin in straight games ( 21-10, 21-7) in just 23 minutes. Following suit, former junior World No. 1 Lakshya Sen notched an even quicker victory (in just 21 minutes), taming Artur Niyazov 21-13, 21-8.
After his outing at the Premier Badminton League, Subhankar Dey was also spot-on with his performance against Khaitmurat Kulmatov. Dey was pretty impressive and took down his opponent in straight games (21-11, 21-5) in just 26 minutes.
The lone defeat of the day came when the experienced duo of Chirag Shetty and H.S. Prannoy suffered a loss in three games to Niyazov and Panarin. Eventually, it was the Kazakhstani duo who required 42 minutes to win, 18-21, 21-16, 21-9.
In the other doubles game, M.R. Arjun and Dhruv Kapila emerged triumphant convincingly, requiring just 20 minutes to finish off Nikita Bragin and Khaitmurat Kulmatov 21-14, 21-8.
The challenge of Kazakhstan might have been tamed for now but India has a bigger challenge ahead in the form of the formidable Malaysian squad.
Pocketing a 4-1 victory, India should get ready to square off against the brilliant Malaysian team in their upcoming Group B match-up.