Indian shuttlers are all set to resume their international campaign with the Sudirman Cup 2021. The marquee tournament will kick off on 26 September in Vantaa, Finland. Originally set to be held in Suzhou, China, it will now happen in Finland due to COVID-19 concerns. Finland is all set to host a major BWF event for the first time.
This will be the 17th edition of the Sudirman Cup, a World mixed team badminton Championships, which takes place every two years. 16 mixed national teams of different BWF member associations will contest for the title, divided into four groups. India has been handed a tough draw and will have to punch well above its weight if they are to shine.
Team India Preview
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has named a relatively young side for the mixed team championships. While the squad has a blend of youth and experience, the Indians will have their work cut out if they are to feature in the knockout stage. India will be missing the services of two time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and veteran Saina Nehwal in the women’s division.
The men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also withdrew from the event due to health issues. The onus is now on B Sai Praneeth, Kadambi Srikanth, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy to inspire the young guns in the side and lead by example.
Barring the four experienced campaigners, the eight other shuttlers in the side will be making their Sudirman Cup debut. The young guns will have to punch above their weight. In the absence of Sindhu and Nehwal, the onus will be on the young shoulders of Malvika Bansod and Aditi Bhatt in women’s singles.
Indian team for Sudirman Cup 2021
Men: B Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth, Dhruv Kapila, MR Arjun
Women: Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt, Tanisha Crasto, Rutuparna Panda, Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy
Sudirman Cup 2021 Group Preview
India has been handed a tough draw for Sudirman Cup 2021 as they found themselves in Group A along with defending champions China, Thailand and hosts Finland. Team India’s opening clash will be against three-time semifinalists Thailand. The fifth-seeded team could prove to be a tough challenge as they search for their maiden title.
Next up, 11-time champions China await India in their second match. With Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Chen Yufei featuring in the side, it is all set to be a mouth-watering all Asian clash. India will have to put up their A-game if they are to topple the defending champs. The hosts, Finland, are the weakest link in the group and will go toe to toe with India in their final match.
Team India is not expected to get a tough fight from the hosts who are seeded in the 9-16 bracket. The Indian shuttles will have to secure a top-two finish in the group if they are to advance to the next round. India’s best performance in the Sudirman Cup was in 2011 and 2017 editions, where the team managed to reach the quarterfinals. The young side will have to toil hard if they are to replicate or better the record.
Sudirman Cup 2021 Live Stream
All the matches of the Sudirman Cup 2021 will be streamed live on the Star Sport 2 SD & HD. Fans can also enjoy live streaming of the league matches on the digital platform, Disney+ Hotstar.