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Asian Games

Asian Games 2023: Indian men's badminton team handed easy draw, faces familiar foes

In the last four of the 19th Asian Games, India's men's team would like to draw inspiration from its historic performance in the Thomas Cup last year, where it defeated Malaysia and Indonesia, the top seed.

Asian Games 2023: Indian mens badminton team handed easy draw, faces familiar foes
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BAI announces strong Indian squad for BWF Thomas Cup Finals 2024

By

Sudipta Biswas

Updated: 27 Sep 2023 9:57 AM GMT

The draw for the 19th Asian Games badminton team events is out on Wednesday.

The Indian men's team, the 2022 Thomas Cup champion, got a bye in the Round of 16, while the women's team will kick start its campaign against Mongolia on Thursday.

The Indian men's team, seeded fourth in the Asiad, also got an easy quarterfinal draw as it will face the winner of the tie between Mongolia and Nepal in the second round.

Familiar foes

The team led by in-form men's singles player HS Prannoy, the world no 7, will get to test themselves in the semifinals, where they will face either Malaysia or Indonesia, the top seed.

In the last four, India would like to draw inspiration from its historic performance in the Thomas Cup last year, where it defeated Malaysia 3-2 in the quarterfinal and Indonesia 3-0 in the final in the badminton's biggest team championship.

Indonesia, with the Asian number one men's singles player Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and world no. 1 men's doubles pair of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto in its team, could pose a serious threat to India in the Asian Games.

But Given the strength of the Indian squad, with Prannoy, the World Championships bronze medallist, and world no. 3 men's doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty - the 2023 Asia Championships gold medallists - in the ranks, the shuttlers are expected to end the team's medal draught and go all the way to the final, where second seed China or Japan, the third seed, could be their opponent, and return home with the country's first-ever men's team gold medal from the Asian Games.

World no. 7 HS Prannoy was one of the key members of India's Thomas Cup world men's team championships title-winning team in 2022.

India last won a men's team medal - bronze - in the 1986 Asian Games.

Prannoy, most recently at the Australian Open, defeated Ginting in a three-setter, while Satwik and Chirag have won all of their last three meetings against Alfian and Ardinato, twice this year at the Indonesia Open and Korea Open.

The men's team also features Canada Open winner Lakshya Sen, Thomas Cup winning star Kidambi Srikanth and giant killer Mithun Manjunath in singles and Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun as the second choice men's doubles pair.

Rocky stream for the women's team

Indian women's team, unseeded, will be led by Olympian PV Sindhu. India is unlikely to face any difficulty against Mongolia in its Round of 16 fixture, but its real test rests in the quarterfinals, where its opponent will be Thailand, who got a bye in the first round.

The women's team lacks depth in singles, with world no. 15 Sindhu struggling to find her form back and Ashmita Chaliha, Anupama Upadhyaya and Malvika Bansod are yet to achieve any international accolades. However, the presence of a talented women's doubles pair of Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly and Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto as the second choice pair augurs well for India in the event.

World no. 15 PV Sindhu will lead the Indian women's team at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Moreover, Thailand, fourth seed, will miss its star women's single player Ratchanok Intanon, the former World Championships gold medallist and Asian Games silver medallist.

The world no. 8 injured her ankle right before the Asian Games at the Hong Kong Open in Kowloon.

In her absence, Thailand will now be relying on world No. 12 Pornpawee Chochuwong, against whom Sindhu enjoys a 6-3 head-to-head record.

Chochuwong will accompanied by world No. 16 Busanan Ongbamrungphan and world No. 17 Supanida Katethong. While Thailand has three players in the top 20 of BWF rankings, India, sans Sindhu, has nobody in the top grade.

The winner of this match will face off against world no. 1 An Se Young's South Korea, the top seed, in the semifinal. China and Japan are likely to face off in the other semifinal.

The finals of the men's and women's team events will be decided on October 1 at Binjiang Gymnasium, Hangzhou.

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