India will go into the World Badminton Championships, that begins on Monday, with a 21-member strong contingent hoping for an elusive gold in the tournament. All eyes will be on in-form Kidambi Srikanth and Rio silver medallist PV Sindhu, who has won bronze at the tournament on two different occasions.
Srikanth will hope to continue his title winning streak to clinch a maiden World Championship medal after back to back title wins at Indonesia Open and Australia Open.
Sindhu, who has also won two titles after her Olympic silver, will be hoping to better her podium finish, having already won bronze in 2013 and 2014. She will be playing either Korea’s Kim Hyo Min or Egypt’s Hadia Hosny in the second round after entering the tournament with a bye.
Among other Indians participating in the tournament is Saina Nehwal, who is the first woman from the country to have won a silver in the World Championships, back in 2015. She will hope to put aside her consistent injury concerns when she faces Switzerland’s Sabrina Jaquet or Ukraine’s Natalya Voytsekh, depending on who wins the first round.
Other hopefuls for India include B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma. Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand called the players representing India as the strongest squad and said that a strong performance can be expected from them. “This is probably the strongest squad. The men have been doing well in recent times and the four Indian players in the fray are good and capable of beating the best. Nobody is a clear favourite these days and we can expect a strong performance from our players,” he said.