Let us look at the players who can help India make it a hat-trick at Olympics with a third successive badminton medal.
The current crop of badminton players in the country is the best India has ever had. Many regard them as the “Golden Generation” of Indian badminton and rightly so! With a talented pool of world class players in both men and women’s category, India has a chance of making it three in three badminton medals in Olympics. Saina Nehwal won the Bronze in 2012 London Olympics and PV Sindhu took a step further to bag the Silver in 2016 Rio Olympics. Let us find out below to see which shuttler has the best chance to make the nation proud in the Tokyo Olympics:
The girl from Hyderabad will be backed the most by the fans following her 2016 exploits in Rio. Against all odds, Sindhu stunned the second seeded Wang Yihan en route to final. Even though she could not get past the Spanish superstar Carolina Marin in the final, Sindhu became a national hero as the entire country cherished her Silver medal.
After emerging out of the shadows of Saina, Sindhu etched her name in history books with numerous global accolades. After two successive final defeats in the World Championships, she got her hands on the coveted trophy in 2019 to become the first Indian to win Gold at the championships. She has improved her game and fine-tuned her technique since Rio 2016, making her the likeliest from the country to win an Olympic medal.
The 30-year-old from Haryana is not far behind Sindhu in getting an Olympic medal. Not to forget that Saina had defeated Sindhu in the 2018 Commonwealth Games final. Credited with bringing the spotlight on India’s badminton, Nehwal was the pioneer in achieving multiple firsts for the country in the sport. She has been equally successful in Olympics as well.
She reached the quarterfinals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and became the first Indian woman to qualify for the Last-8 of the Summer Games. In the next Olympics in London, she became the country’s first shuttler to bag an Olympic medal with a Bronze. In Rio 2016, a knee injury played a major part as Saina crashed out of the Olympics at an early stage. Five years later, she has got her A-game back and Nehwal will be a massive challenger for a medal.
Among the male players, one doesn’t have to look beyond Srikanth. The former World No.1 is not far behind his international stars in badminton. He is rightly the best medal hopeful for the country in men’s category as Kidambi enjoyed a scintillating form after the Rio Olympics.
In 2017, he became only the fourth player ever to win four Super Series trophies in a calendar year. Remarkable as it sounds, things only get better for the Pullela Gopichand academy product as he topped the rankings chart a year later. With his all-round attacking play, Srikanth has the necessary attributes to create history at the Tokyo Olympics.