The Tokyo Olympics badminton draws for the women’s singles are out. Ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu has found a place in Group J for the opening round. Sindhu will have to fight past Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi and Israel’s Ksenia Polikarpova to make it to the knockouts. Given the opponents, it should be a cakewalk for the Rio Olympics silver medalist.
In the women’s singles, the top player from every group will be proceeding to the knock-out stages. Therefore, out of the 43 players, we will have 14 women shuttlers moving onto the next round and will fight it out for a place on the podium.
Tokyo Olympics Badminton Draws: Can PV Sindhu win a medal at Tokyo Olympics?
Despite erratic performances since winning the 2019 World Championships, the one reason why she is still regarded as a gold contender for Badminton Tokyo is her impeccable record at big tournaments. Since winning bronze at the 2013 WCH, she has failed to medal only once at a World or Olympic tournament, and that too was prior to her breakthrough year of 2016. Also of note is her mental toughness in coming back from heartbreaking finals losses between 2016-2018. The contrast between the careers of Sindhu and Tokyo gold favorite Tai Tzu-Ying could not be starker.
But in women’s singles badminton at Tokyo Olympics, TTY will not be the only hurdle facing Sindhu. Even the absence of defending champion Carolina Marin has failed to dilute the quality of the field. There are the two home favourites Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi, each renowned for their legendary defensive skills; the Chinese duo of Chen Yufei and He Bingjiao looking to get their nation back to the podium after the 2016 blip; the elegant Thai shuttler Ratchanok Intanon and Korean upstart An Se-young.
If Men’s Tennis has a Big Three, Women’s Badminton has something approaching a Big Ten. The task for Sindhu is clearly cut out. Assessing all the factors, a gold looks difficult but she has a fair chance of reaching the semis. But if anyone can pull it off in Indian badminton it’s her. She has risen against the tide time and again, and it’s time for one final crack at Tokyo.