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11 Jan, 2021
Yonex Thailand Open is now less than 24 hours away, and the excitement laced with a bit of anxiety is very much palpable for fans and players alike. The tournament organizers have done a magnificent effort in bringing around the best of the players from around the globe, and thus far barring a few initial hiccups, its been spot on in terms of organization.
The first tournament of 2021, actually one of the last of the 2020 season – which is now concluding in 2021, yeah try getting your head around that for a bit is all systems go and going by the social media accounts of the players, they just cant wait to get on to court and hit the shuttle in anger, once again.
It has been well over 300 days since we’ve had a topflight badminton tournament with all the top players, albeit the Denmark Open did happen with a depleted list of players. The corona virus pandemic has wreaked havoc with the tournament schedules, and even careers of some of the players. It is impossible to stay away from topflight badminton for almost a year and then immediately comeback to perform at the same level.
Nevertheless, none of that currently matters, as players are just keen to step on to the court and ensure they do their best. Many of the players have their Olympic aspirations to consider and a strong showing in Thailand will keep them in the hunt for that elusive spot in Tokyo.
To be held at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, the tournament features some of the top badminton stars from across the globe. Although, the absence of the Japanese & Chinese contingents will be noticeable.
Team India will be led by the Olympic Silver Medallist – PV Sindhu, with Saina Nehwal, Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth, Sikki Reddy, Satwik, Sairaj, Sumeeth Reddy, Ashwini Ponnapa, Sourabh Verma, Parupalli Kashyap being the other prominent members.
On day one of the tournament, it will be the mixed doubles pairing of Satwik Sairaj & Ashwini Ponnappa to kickstart the proceedings for team India as they take on the sixth seeded Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal & Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja. Ashwini will also features in the women’s doubles event with Sikki Reddy as the pair takes on fourth seeded Kim So Yeong & Kong Hee Yong of South Korea.
In the singles event it will be B Sai Praneeth up against local lad Kantaphon Wangcharoen while on the women’s side it will be PV Sindhu against Mia Blichfeldt in a very interesting match-up. Saina Nehwal will also feature on day one as she takes on Kisona Selvaduray of Malaysia. And Parupalli Kashyap will take on Canadian Jason Anthony Ho-Shue in the last match for the Indians on the day.
Some of the other interesting match-ups for the day include Tai Tzu Ying taking on Benyapa Aimsaard, while the Russian doubles pair of Vladimir Ivanov & Ivan Sozonov will take on the British pair of Ben Lane & Sean Vendy. Interestingly, other than Sozonov, all the other three in the match also play for the same Premier Badminton League side – Hyderabad Hunters.