The highly anticipated BWF World Championships starts today, August 19th, bringing back the intensity, rivalries, and buzz among badminton enthusiasts across the world. This will be the 25th edition of the tournament is all set to get underway in Basel, Switzerland, over the next seven days.
Indian contingent: Last year vs this year
The Indian contingent had a disappointing experience in the 2018 World Championships, where golden girl PV Sindhu was the only one to bring home a medal, a silver in Women’s singles, a repeat of her 2017 achievement. Saina Nehwal was also beaten in the quarter finals, while the best performance from the Men came from Sai Praneeth, who reached the quarter finals. The rest of the men's singles players, including former world number one Kidambi Srikanth, as well as the doubles and mixed doubles pairs, crashed out poorly in the initial rounds.
This year, the Indian contingent will be led by Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth in the women's and men's singles respectively. Alongside Sindhu, in women's singles there will be World Number 8, Saina Nehwal, who will also be a force to be reckoned with. The men's singles team will consist of H.S Prannoy, Sameer Verma and Sai Praneeth, alongside K Srikanth.The men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chiraj Shetty, who are presently ranked ninth in the world, will hope to bring home India's first medal in men's doubles event.
Here is a look at their chances and how they are expected to perform:
In men's singles, India's number one, Srikanth, is expected to face World Number 2 Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei, after a comparatively easy initial three rounds. Srikanth hasn’t been in the best form as of late, but will be looking to win his first World Championship medal this year. As for the other shuttlers, 10th seed, Sameer Verma is most likely to face Chou Tien Chen in the third round. 15th seed Sai Praneeth is likely to face 6th seed Anthony Ginthing of Indonesia in the third round while HS Pranoy will most probably face the brilliant Lin Dan, in the second round. The players will certainly have to step up their game to progress to the later half of the tournament and win a medal. However, all three are capable of doing so, and on their day, they can beat the best of the best.
In the women's singles section, the poster girls of Indian badminton, Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will be in action. If both Saina and Sindhu are able to reach the semifinals, then they will face each other for a place in the finals. However, for this to happen, both have to be at the top of their game-
After two easy initial rounds, Saina Nehwal is likely to face Mia Blichfeldt in the third round. If she is able to beat her, then Saina will most probably face world number 4, Chinese star Chen Yufei in the quarters.
Sindhu, on the other hand, is likely to face Beiwen Zhang of USA in the third round and the great Tai Tzu Ying in the quarter finals. Both these matches will be very tough for Sindhu, and thus she needs to be on top of her game if she hopes to win her 5th World Championship medal.
In the doubles category, the young and talented men's duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chiraj Shetty will be looking to replicate their Thailand Open form, if they are to win their first ever World Championship medal.
The experienced duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy in women's doubles, and Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in mixed doubles, will be looking to cause an upset or two and progress to the latter stages of the tournament.