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Sindhu, Satwik-Chirag pair get first-round bye in BWF World Championships

Two-time Olympic medallist shuttler PV Sindhu and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty received first-round byes in the BWF World Championships 2023 draw held here on Thursday. This year’s BWF World Championships will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark from August 21 to 27.

Sindhu had won the title in 2019(AFP)
Sindhu had won the title in 2019(AFP)

Sindhu, who won the women’s singles world title in 2019, however, has been handed a tough draw and she might face Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon and top seed An Se Young of Korea as they are grouped in the top half of the draw. Sindhu is the only Indian to feature in the women’s singles competition.

The men’s doubles combination of World Championships bronze medallists Satwik and Chirag achieved a career-best world no.2 ranking last month following their title triumph in Korea Open and are in the form of their life. India’s men’s singles challenge will be led by in-form HS Prannoy, seeded second in the upcoming event. He will face Kalle Koljonen of Finland.

The other Indians in the fray in men’s singles — Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth — will play Georges Julien Paul of Mauritius and Kenta Nishimoto of Japan respectively in the their first-round matches. Prannoy has been the most consistent Indian singles player in the last 12 months, and is currently ranked ninth in the world. He won the Malaysia Masters in May before finishing second best in last week’s Australian Open.

In women’s doubles, India have fielded two pairs. While the duo of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand received a first-round bye, Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam will be up against Debora Jille and Cheryl Seinen of the Netherlands. Rohan Kapoor and N Sikki Reddy will take on the Scottish pair of Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson in the opening round of mixed doubles, while the other Indian combination of Venkat Prasad and Juhi Dewangan will face Jones Ralfy Jansen and Linda Efler of Germany in their campaign opener.

While 64 shuttlers will compete in men’s singles, 48 will feature in women’s singles. Besides, there are 46 teams each in the three doubles events with the 16 highest-ranked players on the latest world ranking receiving seedings in all the five categories. Four Indians will be in singles competition, while six pairs will be in doubles action in the 28th edition of the tournament.

Sindhu is the only Indian to have won the World Championships crown so far, having clinched the title in 2019. She also has two silver and as many bronze medals to her name in the tournament. Besides Sindhu, former Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal has won two World Championships medals — a silver in 2015 and bronze in 2017. Former world no. 1 Srikanth also won a silver in 2021.

The other Indian shuttlers to have bagged medals in the global event are Lakshya Sen, B Sai Praneeth and the Ashwini Ponnappa-Jwala Gutta pair, all winning bronze medals. India have so far bagged 13 medals in the BWF World Championships.

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