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Sindhu, Saina win as Srikanth exits from Asian C’ship

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P.V. Sindhu defeated World No. 13 Sayaka Takahashi 21-14, 21-7. Photo: Twitter

Wuhan (China): Ace India shuttlers Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu and Sameer Verma registered victories in their first round matches on Wednesday to advance to the pre-quarterfinal Badminton Asia Championships. However, it was the end of the road for Kidambi Srikanth.

Rio Olympics’ silver medallist Sindhu defeated World No. 13 Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in straight games and will face Choirunnisa of Indonesia in the next round. Sindhu knocked out her opponent 21-14, 21-7 in a short 28-minute affair.

Saina, however, faced a tough fight from China’s Han Yue, who won the opening game 12-21. The Indian then made a comeback in the contest which lasted for 61 minutes as she managed to win the next two games 21-11, 21-17 to enter the pre-quarters.

In a men’s singles contest, Sameer had to overcome some stiff resistance from Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai. Despite wining the first game 21-13, Sameer was at the receiving end in the second one as he lost 17-21 before managing a hard fought 21-18 win in the third and final game.

However, Srikanth suffered an early exit from the tournament after going down 16-21, 20-22 to Indonesia’s Shesar Rhustavito in another first round match of the men’s singles.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Indian women’s doubles pair of Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S. Ram lost 13-21, 16-21 to Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.

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India beaten by China, out of Sudirman Cup badminton tourney

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Nanning: India crashed out of the Sudirman Cup mixed team badminton championships after losing 0-5 to China in the second and final Group -1D match at Nanning in China today.

India’s mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost to Chinese combination of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping 5-21 11-21 to trail 0-1.

Sameer Verma, who took the court after Kidambi Srikanth suffered a minor injury during practice sessions, lost to Olympic champion Chen Long 17-21 20-22 in the men’s singles as India slumped to 0-2 deficit.

The pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty was beaten by the world no 7 duo of Han Chengkai and Zhou Haodong 21-18 15-21 17-21 in the men’s doubles to draw curtains to India’s campaign.

Saina Nehwal then went down 12-21 17-21 to All England Champion Chen Yufei in women’s singles match, while World no 3 women’s doubles pair of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan beat Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki 21-12 21-15.

India had lost to Malaysia, 2-3 in their opening Group-1D match on Tuesday. India have never won a medal in the tournament. It reached the quarterfinals in 2011 and 2017.

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Indian shuttlers target podium spots in Sudirman Cup

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Nanning (China): Top shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will spearhead the Indian challenge at the prestigious Sudirman Cup which gets underway here on Sunday.

India, who reached the quarterfinals twice in 2011 and 2017, will continue their hunt for an elusive medal in the mixed team championship.

Placed in Group 1D, India will have to beat the mighty China and 2009 semifinalist Malaysia to qualify from the group.

For that to happen, the likes of reigning BWF World Tour Finals winner Sindhu, 2019 Indonesia Masters champion Nehwal, 2019 India Open finalist Kidambi Srikanth and BWF World Tour Finals semifinalist Sameer Verma will have to come good.

As a team, India, seeded eighth this time, did beat Malaysia enroute an unprecedented team gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. The 13-member contingent will also have an advantage, as former World No. 1 Malaysian Lee Chong Wei is not taking part in the tournament this time.

Malaysia will rest their hopes on Lee Zii Jia in the men’s singles while Goh Jin Wei or Soniia Cheah will lead the charge in the women’s singles.

In the last edition, India stunned 1989 winners Indonesia on their way to the quarter-final where they lost to eventual runners-up China.

India will take on Malaysia on Monday before locking horns with 10-time champions China the next day.

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BWF launches outdoor badminton game

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AirBadminton will enable badminton to played outdoors. Photo:@BWF

Guangzhou (China): Playing badminton on the beach? Yes, it is now becoming real and official.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) launched a new outdoor game, AirBadminton, and a new outdoor shuttlecock, the AirShuttle, at a global launch ceremony.

“This is a momentous occasion for badminton. Strategically, AirBadminton will allow us to fulfill our overall objective of putting a badminton racket in the hands of as many people as possible,” BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer said at the launching ceremony here in Guangzhou on Monday.

AirBadminton is designed to create opportunities for people of all ages to play badminton on hard, grass and sand surfaces in parks, gardens, streets, playgrounds and beaches, according to the BWF’s official announcement.

The BWF said the new outdoor game is also played on new court dimensions, making it more suitable to play in outdoor environments, and on hard, grass and sand surfaces around the world.

Hoyer said AirBadminton provides a pathway for increased global participation in the sport, while opening up doors for a new, highly attractive form of competitive badminton.

“Given that most people’s first experience with badminton comes in an outdoor environment, we are now making it easier for everyone to access the sport through a new outdoor game and new shuttlecock, the AirShuttle,” he said.

Hoyer said the project has been five years in the making, starting with a vision to develop a new outdoor shuttlecock with increased durability, stability and wind resistance to allow people to have a more positive experience of playing badminton outdoors.

The BWF is currently working with sports manufacturers to mass produce and rollout the AirShuttle. The eventual aim is for the shuttlecock to be played in winds up to 12 kilometers per hour.

“In the future, we see AirBadminton as an exciting, new, energetic version of the sport. Overall, the aim is to inspire more people to play more badminton in more places,” Hoyer added.

According to the BWF, Badminton has more than 300 million active players globally, most of which are in Asia and Europe.

“It’s also great that it is an inclusive game that can be enjoyed by people with disabilities,” said Dong Jiong, Atlanta 1996 men’s singles silver medallist and now Chinese national Para badminton head coach, who joined Hoyer in unveiling the AirShuttle.

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