Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Indian shuttlers eye first-ever gold

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Hangzhou, Sep 27: Given their unprecedented success in recent past, expectations are high from Indian shuttlers to chase down that elusive Asian Games badminton gold and return from Hangzhou with their best-ever haul.
The Indian badminton players will begin their campaign with the team championships here from Thursday.
India have bagged just 10 badminton medals in Asian Games history, including three individual singles medals, three men’s team bronze, two women’s team bronze and one medal each in men’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Since the 1986 edition at Seoul, India have not won a medal in the men’s team event but have a great chance of breaking the jinx this time as they head into the tournament as Thomas Cup champions, an epic feat achieved in May 2022.
The core of the team remains the same with HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in good form and the Indian team would hope the rub of the green also goes their way when it begins campaign on Thursday.
However, it will be easier said than done as they will have powerhouses such as China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia in the competition.
Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu is the only one to have come close to a gold medal in the continental championships when she signed off with a silver at the last edition at Jakarta.
Besides Sindhu, Saina Nehwal’s bronze in Jakarta remains the only other individual medal in women’s singles, while Syed Modi was the only one to win a bronze in men’s singles.
With Indians performing exceptionally well in the last few years, expectations are high from world championships bronze medallist Prannoy and Commonwealth Games gold medallists Rankireddy and Shetty.
While Prannoy earned a maiden world championships bronze in Copenhagen after winning the Malaysia Masters and a final finish at Australian Open, Satwik-Chirag are the Asian Champions and have won titles in Indonesia, Korea and Switzerland.
While Prannoy will be brimming with confidence, Satwik-Chirag will be hungry to get back in the podium after missing out of a world championships medal at Copenhagen last month. (PTI)

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