Satwik-Chirag become first Indian men's doubles pair to qualify for Badminton World Tour Finals
After a lot of will-they-won't-they, Satwik-Chirag made the cut for the upcoming BWF World Tour Finals with a semi-final finish at Indonesia Open 2021.
With time ticking fast on the clock, there was much confusion as to whether the star Indian men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will be able to do just enough to make the cut for the upcoming Badminton World Tour Finals scheduled to be held in Bali, Indonesia from 1st to 5th December 2021. However, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty can now finally breathe a sigh of relief as with Akira Koga and Taichi Saito losing their semi-finals, the dynamic men's doubles duo from India have sealed their place on the Road to Bali map and are headed there. By booking this ticket, Satwik-Chirag also became the very first Indian men's doubles badminton pair to qualify for this prestigious year-ending event.
Things did look dicey for the Indian combine, especially after they lost their semi-final encounter at the Indonesia Open 2021 to the World No. 1 pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sukamuljo a.k.a the Minions, 21-16, 21-18 in 44 minutes. A win in the semi-finals would have straightaway guaranteed Satwik-Chirag the spot but no matter how bravely they fought - contesting gruelling and highly energetic rallies with brilliance, it all fell short against the Minions.
The loss in the semi-finals only brought in further worry lines for the Indian pair as there was only one spot remaining to be filled and Akira Koga and Taichi Saito were also hot on the run for it. However, luck did decide to play in favour of Satwik-Chirag and the pair of Koga-Saito lost to fellow Japanese shuttler duo of Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi, 22-20, 21-14.
Satwik-Chirag, with this, becomes the last entrant from India for the upcoming Badminton World Tour Finals. This is a very promising sight for doubles as ever since 2007 when the BWF Superseries Finals began (now known as BWF World Tour Finals), India had never been able to qualify in men and women doubles though mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju had finished runners up in 2009 editon. This time, India will find representation in both men's and women's doubles with Satwik-Chirag as well as Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy making the cut. Aside from them, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth will be familiar faces while youngster Lakshya Sen will also make his debut there as the youngest Indian qualifier for this event.