Indian badminton is all set to create history as for the first time they would have a strong team of five shuttlers representing the country at the Olympics. The qualification is not officially out, but it’s quite certain that five players would make the cut. This is the first time ever that India would be represented in four out of five categories in the Olympics.
Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap would be India’s flag bearer at the women’s and men’s singles categories respectively whereas Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnapa, Jwala-V Diju would lead India’s charge at the women’s doubles and mixed doubles event. This is the first instance that India would field a team in the doubles’ event.
Barring the World number five Saina Nehwal, who was anyways certain to make the cut, all the players did perform well in India Open Super Series, the last qualifying tournament held at Delhi recently. This is probably the best chance for India to win a medal at the Olympics.
Here is a detailed look at the players who have qualified for the Olympics;
Saina Nehwal: She would be one of the top class athletes representing the country. World number five Saina was going through a bad phase last year but jumped back into thick of action after she defended her Swiss Open title in February this year. She looked sloppy after that though, but she still is the best bet for India at the Olympics. She has been amongst the top five shuttlers of the World badminton for quite some time now and her consistency and ability to thrive under adversity is what makes her such a potent force to reckon to in London. Reason for her slump in form last year was the Chinese, but during her title defence in Switzerland she broke the Chinese code too. Lot of hopes would be pinned on her in the mega event at London.
Parupalli Kashyap: He was the bronze medalist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and certainly looks a medal prospect. His determination and hunger is what makes him a potential force at the Olympics. There was only one spot on offer and it was a very difficult task in hand for him qualify as his compatriot Ajay Jayaram was 1000 points ahead of him and World number 30 Kashyap required to win at least two more matches than Jayaram. Even though he was lucky as he got a walkover in the quarterfinals, he still showed that when pushed against the wall, he can do wonders. The nation could expect Kashyap to win a medal for the country.
Jwala-Ashwini: One of the charming pairs of World badminton, looks is not all that they have got. The pair is led by the senior pro Jwala and is a perfect mix of youth and experienced. Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa are the players who actually brought the women’s double badminton in reckoning in the country after their gold medal winning feat at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. They pair currently ranked 20th have the firepower required and on a day can take topple any team.
Jwala-Diju: The pair created history in 2009 when they became the first Indian pair to win a Grand Prix Gold Title. They won the Chinese Taipei Open and the pair currently ranked 15th definitely looks game for the Olympics. Jwala-Diju who have recorded career best ranking of seven, can definitely win a medal taking into consideration their record at the global stage.
By Samikshan Dutta Choudhury
Indian Sports News