Kidambi Srikanth’s efforts helped India beat Kazakhstan 4-1 in the opening group match of the Asia Team Badminton Championships Tuesday and this has improved India’s chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals.
Former World No. 1 Srikanth, Lakshya Sen and Subhankar Dey won their respective singles matches with east. Srikanth took only 23 minutes to beat Dmitriy Panarin 21-10, 21-7 while Sen won in only 21 minutes (21-13, 21-8) over Artur Niyazov.
Dey beat Khaitmurat Kulmatov 21-11, 21-5 in 26 minutes in the third singles. H S Prannoy, who did not play the singles, teamed up with Chirag Shetty in the doubles, but they lost to the Kazakh pair of Niyazov and Panarin 21-18, 16-21, 19-21. But in the second doubles match, M R Arjun and Dhruv Kapila beat the Kazakh duo of Nikita Bragin and Khaitmurat Kulmatov 21-14, 21-8.
The Indian team has been placed in Group B alongside Malaysia and Kazakhstan. The top two teams in each of the four groups will make it to the quarterfinals. India will next play Malaysia on Thursday.
There were doubts on if the Indian team will travel to Manila, Philippines due to the risk of coronavirus, but full-strength Indian men’s team is taking part in the championships which is very important in the year of the Olympics.
The Indian women’s team, on the other hand, decided against travelling for the tournament due to the virus which has claimed over 1000 lives in China so far.