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Badminton Asian Championships: Players eager to find form in lead-up to Olympics

Badminton Asian Championships: Players eager to find form in lead-up to Olympics

Sarah Waris

Published: 8 Feb 2020 9:33 AM GMT

The 2020 Badminton Asia Team Championships gets underway at Manila, Philippines from February 11 2020, with the participants looking to earn crucial points as a part of the qualification process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. While the Indian women's contingent has withdrawn from the edition due to the threat of coronavirus, the men's squad, lead by Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth, will be hoping to find form as they gear up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen and Subhankar Dey are the other members in the singles squad, while Satwiksairaj Reddy along with Chirag Shetty and Dhruv Kapila along with MR Arjun will turn out for the team in the doubles event.

India is placed in Group A that also features Indonesia and the hosts Philippines. They will start their campaign on February 11 against Philippines, and will take on Indonesia on February 13.

Prannoy, currently ranked 27th in the world, did not return with a single title last year and has a tough task ahead of him as he gears up to qualify for the Olympics. He has taken part in three tournaments in 2020, with his best showing being a Round of 16 appearance at the Malaysia Masters at the start of the year.

HS Prannoy

Praneeth is India's biggest hope from the single's circuit in the men's category. With only the top 16 players qualifying for the Tokyo Games, Praneeth, at number 11, has a golden chance to seal his Olympics berth, but will be eager to get some favourable results, which will give him some much-needed confidence ahead of the multi-national games. He, however, has not had the best start to the year, losing in the first round of both the Malaysia Masters and the Indonesia Masters.

Srikanth, ranked 15th in the world in the latest rankings, will need to find form and pitch in with a good showing at the Asian Championships so he can earn qualification points and keep his ranking within the cut-off mark. Srikanth was affected by injuries for most parts of 2019, which hampered his run on tour. He was unable to win a singles title, but did reach the finals of the India Open.

Sen and Dey are unexpected to take the courts, as the team will look to give vital match practice to the senior stars.

Reddy and Shetty along with Kapila and Arjun will be the dark horses in the event, with the duo of Shetty-Reddy, in particular, showing considerable improvement against the big guns in 2019.

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