India’s star shuttler PV Sindhu has been placed in the same quarter as familiar rival Akane Yamaguchi as the draw for badminton at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was confirmed on Thursday.
B Sai Praneeth faces a tough challenge should he make it out of this group and into the quarter-final as he is drawn to face top seed and red-hot favourite Kento Momota in the quarter-final. The task is also equally hard for the doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty who find themselves in the same group as men’s doubles top seeds Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon from Indonesia, the pair nicknamed ‘The Minions’.
Rio silver medallist Sindhu, World Championship bronze medallist Sai Praneeth and rising young doubles pair of Chirag and Satwik are the Indian shuttlers who have made the cut based on their qualification rankings.
Badminton action begins on July 24 with the group stages, with the medal matches scheduled in the week from then, culminating on August 1.
Sindhu, seeded sixth, has been placed in Group J alongside Cheung Ngan Yi (Hong Kong, world No 34) and Ksenia Polikarpova (Israel, world No 58). Sai Praneeth is in Group D with Mark Caljouw (Netherlands, world No 29) and Misha Zilbermann (Israel, world No 47).
The men’s doubles duo Satwik-Chirag have to contend not just with the top seeds in Group A but also world No 3 Lee Yang / Wang Chi Lin (Taiwan) and dynamic duo Ben Lane / Sean Vendy (Great Britain) and have a massive challenge to finish in the top two to progress through to the knockouts.
In the singles competition, the top player from each group will qualify for the knock-out stages
Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s singles gold medallist Chen Long of China is the only defending champion in any of the five categories, the governing body said in their statement confirming the final entries. Women’s singles gold medallist from 2016 Carolina Marin is missing out on the event because of a surgery on her ruling her out.
India’s only other Olympic medallist in the sport, Saina Nehwal, had missed the cut due to her low ranking in the Race to Tokyo qualification. Former world No 1 Srikanth Kidambi, who was in the draw at Rio 2016, is the other notable absentee.
Women’s singles potential round of 16 matches (as per seed)
Chen Yufei (bye)
An Se Young vs Busanan Ongbamrungphan
Nozomi Okuhara vs Michelle Li
He Bingjao vs Beiwen Zhang
Mia Blichfeldt vs PV Sindhu
Kim Gaeun vs Akane Yamaguchi
Gregoria Tunjung vs Ratchanok Intanon
Tai Tzu Ying (bye)
Men’s singles potential round of 16 matches (as per seed)
Kento Momota (bye)
Ng Ka Long Angus vs Sai Praneeth
Viktor Axelsen vs Wang Tzu Wei
Jonatan Christie vs Shi Yu Qi
Kanta Tsuneyama vs Anthony Ginting
Kantaphon Wangchaoren vs Anders Antonsen
Lee Zii Jia vs Chen Long
Chou Tien Chen (bye)