The badminton events in the Olympics will begin on July 24 with the group stages, while the medal matches are to be held the week after.
Indian badminton star PV Sindhu has been placed in the same quarter as her rival Akane Yamaguchi for the Olympic Games. The draw for badminton at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was confirmed on Thursday. B Sai Praneeth will also face a tough challenge should he make it out of this group and into the quarter-final as he will have to face top seed and red-hot favorite Kento Momota. It will also be a rather difficult task for the doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty who find themselves in the same group as men’s doubles top seeds Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon from Indonesia, the pair nicknamed ‘The Minions’.
Former Olympic silver medalist Sindhu, World Championship bronze medallist Sai Praneeth and rising young doubles pair of Chirag and Satwik are the Indian shuttlers who have made the cut based on their respective qualification rankings. The badminton events in the Olympics will begin on July 24 with the group stages, while the medal matches are scheduled to be held in the following week from then, culminating on August 1.
Sindhu, seeded sixth, has been placed in Group J alongside Cheung Ngan Yi (Hong Kong, world No 34) and Ksenia Polikarpova (Israel, world No 58). Sai Praneeth is in Group D with Mark Caljouw (Netherlands, world No 29) and Misha Zilbermann (Israel, world No 47).
The men’s doubles duo Satwik-Chirag have to deal with not just with the top seeds in Group A but also world No 3 pair Lee Yang / Wang Chi Lin (Taiwan) and dynamic duo Ben Lane / Sean Vendy (Great Britain) and have a massive challenge to finish in the top two to progress through to the knockouts.
Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s singles gold medallist Chen Long of China is the only defending champion across all of the five categories, the governing body said in their statement confirming the final entries. Women’s singles gold medallist from 2016 Carolina Marin is missing out due to a recent surgery.
India’s only other Olympic medallist in the sport, Saina Nehwal, had missed the cut due to her low ranking in the Race to Tokyo qualification. Former world No 1 Srikanth Kidambi, who was in the draw at Rio 2016, is the other notable absentee.