Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have received a first-round bye in the BWF World Championships 2023 starting August 21 in Copenhagen.
However, Sindhu has a very tough road ahead in the competition. The double Olympic medallist is the only Indian representative in the women’s singles category. She is also the only Indian present in the Copenhagen contingent to win the World Championship gold. Sindhu will face the winner of the first-round clash between Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara and Thuy Linh Nguyen. Okuhara can be a challenge for Sindhu but the Japanese has struggled for form recently.
If Sindhu manages to go through the second-round hurdle, then she will face Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in a very tough third-round clash. Even if she gets past Intanon, Sindhu will face World No. 1 An Se Young in the quarterfinals. She will have to be at her best to go past these exceptional shuttlers.
While her ability to step up at big events is something that we have seen in the past. Apart from her World Championship gold, she has won two silver medals and as many bronze medals in this competition, speaking volumes about her ability to step up when the occasion is big.
In Men’s singles, HS Prannoy will lead the Indian contingent where he will face Kalle Koljonen of Finland in the opening round. The other Indian men’s singles players Lakshya Sen and Srikanth Kidambi will go up against Georges Julien Paul of Mauritius and Kenta Nishimoto respectively in their first-round clashes.
Prannoy has been extremely consistent in the last 12 months and he will look to display that form at the big stage. Currently ranked ninth in the world, Prannoy won the Malaysian Masters in May and finished runners-up in Australia last week.
Sen and Prannoy are on the same side of the draw that also has World No. 1, Viktor Axelsen.
World No. 2 pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have received a first-round bye. Similarly, the women’s doubles pairing of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand were also handed a first-round bye while the other Indian women’s doubles duo of Ashwini Bhat and Shikha Gautam will face a Dutch pairing of Debora Jille and Cheryl Seinen in the first round.
In Mixed doubles, Rohan Kapoor and N Sikki Reddy will play against the Scottish duo of Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson. The other pairing of Venkat Prasad and Juhi Dewangan will start their campaign against Jones Ralfy Jansen and Linda Efler of Germany.