Thomas Cup champions India will look to create magic as they chase the elusive crown at the Badminton Asia Team Championships, which will mark the return of two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu from injury. The Indian men's team, which lifted the Thomas Cup in 2022 and claimed a first-ever silver medal at the Asian Games last year, will look to go all out at the continental event this week after failing in the 2016 and 2018 ended with bronze medals. . It will be no mean feat for the Indian men's team, who will take on the formidable China and Hong Kong in the Group A matches.
However, India, led by HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen and the informant doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, will back themselves to finish in the top two and reach the knockout stages.
The women's team, led by Sindhu, got the green scoop as China is the only other team in Group 'W' and India is already assured of a knockout place.
It will be a tough task for the women's team, which will depend on Sindhu and the two doubles pairs – Commonwealth Games bronze medalists Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand and Guwahati Masters 2023 champion Ashwini Ponnappa-Tanisha Crasto to give them the push.
For Sindhu, the event takes on extra significance as she aims to test her match fitness and regain her confidence after missing action since October last year.
The 28-year-old had suffered a knee injury during the French Open and needed some time to get back to fitness. She then shifted her base to Bengaluru to train under mentor Prakash Padukone at PPBA.
The continental competition will also be important for the players as it provides valuable qualification points in the race to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The focus will also be on the young and second-string Indian players such as Thailand Open super 300 semi-finalist Ashmita Chaliya, 16-year-old senior national champion Anmol Kharb and Badminton Asia Junior Championships medalist Tanvi Sharma, who are keen to punch above their weight. on the big stage.
India starts its campaign on Wednesday, with the men's team taking on Hong Kong and Sindhu and Co. facing China at the Setia City Convention Center here.
While Hong Kong has two solid men's singles players at world number 18 and 22 Ng Ka Long Angus, they lack a decent doubles game and India are expected to beat their opponents.
The same cannot be said about their female counterparts. China won't have the presence of Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei in their ranks, but players like world number 8 Han Yue, world number 9 Wang Zhi Yi and world number 15 Zhang Yi Man could prove a handful for Chaliha and Kharb.
China will also be without their top doubles pair, but world number 4 Liu Sheng Shu and Tan Ning will be tough opponents.
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