Saina Nehwal and Co leave for Thailand to compete in two Super 1000 events; PV Sindhu to fly from London
The Indian badminton team, including Olympic hopefuls Saina Nehwal, B Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth, on Sunday left for Thailand to compete in back-to-back BWF World Tour Super 1000 events.
New Delhi: The Indian badminton team, including Olympic hopefuls Saina Nehwal, B Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth, on Sunday left for Thailand to compete in back-to-back BWF World Tour Super 1000 events.
While Srikanth had participated in the Denmark Super 750 in October, for the rest of the squad it will be the first event in nearly 10 months, after the COVID-19 pandemic had shutdown all tournaments globally.
Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu is set to fly out of London on Sunday to play her first tournament since the coronavirus -induced break. She will reach Bangkok via Doha.
Apart from Denmark Open, SaarLorLux Super 100 was the only other event to be held last year since the BWF was forced to suspend the calendar after the completion of the All England Championships in March.
All eyes are now on the two Super 1000 events — Yonex Thailand Open (12-17 January) and Toyota Thailand Open (19-24 January) as the world's best return to action following a prolonged break.
The team also consists of Olympic-bound men's pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, besides doubles exponents Ashwini Ponappa and N Sikki Reddy.
"After a long wait, we get back on the court soon at Thailand Open!!! excited much," a picture of the squad, posted by Satwiksairaj on Instagram, read.
HS Prannoy, Parupalli Kashyap, Sameer Verma, Dhruv Kapila, Manu Attri were among others who left for Bangkok from Hyderabad via Dubai on Saturday.
"First tournament after a long time... looking forward to the tournament... Thailand Open 2021," Kashyap wrote along with a picture of him and wife Saina.
The team was also accompanied by singles foreign coaches Agus Dwi Santoso and Park Tae Sang and doubles coach Dwi Kristiawan along with other support staff.
The Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive tournaments played in a bio-secure 'bubble' in Bangkok as badminton resumes after a coronavirus-ravaged 2020.
Thailand Open Super 1000: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Sameer Verma produce the sole redeeming feature of Indian performance
For the second elite World Tour Super 1000 tournament in a row, Indian shuttlers produced a dismal performance, to crash out of the Toyota Thailand Open en masse by the semi-final stage, and leave the country empty-handed.
The Indian players seemed to struggle with their fitness as none of them could cross the second round at the Yonex Thailand Open, the first event of the Asia leg.