The tournament returns after a four-year gap.
The eagerly awaited Asia Mixed Team Badminton Championship will begin on Tuesday, February 14, 2023. The best shuttlers from Asia will compete in the competition. PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medalist, will represent India in the competition. The Dubai Exhibition Center in the United Arab Emirates is where it will take place. The competition has returned after a four-year absence.
The event’s most recent edition was held in Hong Kong in 2019. It was scheduled to take place in 2021 but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The top two seeded countries in the 17-nation event are China and Japan. China earned the bronze medal in the first edition and the gold medal in 2019. Meanwhile, Japan has won gold and silver in the last two editions. Let us look at the top five teams to watch out for.
Team China are the number 1 seed in the competition and they are the defending champions of Badminton Asia Team Championships as well. This time they have a young squad but they also have got the experience of Zhao Junpeng who was part of the side last time around as well. Apart from him, the team has also the reigning mixed double gold medalist from Tokyo Olympics.
Their women’s double side and the men’s double side are young but their record in the junior championships has been impressive. They are the favourites to make the cut to the quarter-final from their group, which also consists of South Korea, Singapore and Uzbekistan.
Team Japan won the gold in the first edition but could not retain the title in 2019 as China beat them in the finals. This time they would be looking to get their hands back on the trophy. The men’s doubles pair of Yugo Kobayashi and Tajuro Hogi have been exceptional in major tournaments in recent times and the Japanese team will bank on their experience.
Kodai Naraoka reached the finals of the Malaysia Open 2023 where he lost to Victor Axelsen, but that would give him the confidence to do well in the championship in Dubai. The women’s doubles pair of Arisa Higashino and Yuta Watanabe are a difficult pair to get through as well. They are placed with Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Pakistan in Group D.
Jonatan Christie is not part of team Indonesia but the side does not lack big players as Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo and Anthony Ginting will represent Indonesia in the men’s singles. Wardoyo played the finals against Christie in the Indonesian Open so his recent form has been good. The reigning women’s doubles Olympic champion Apriyani Rahayu is also part of the squad.
Her form in 2023 has not been the best but she would hope to get their mojo back in the tournament. She will be without her long-term partner though. Indonesia is 3rd seed and they are in Group C alongside Thailand, Bahrain, Syria and Lebanon. They are the favourites to top their group in Badminton Asia Team Championships but they should not take the Thailand team lightly.
Team Malaysia boast a great doubles pair in the women’s category as well as the men’s category. Their men’s doubles pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Yik defeated their fellow countrymen in the finals of the commonwealth games last year. They also won the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics. The women’s double pair of Pearly Le and Thinaah Muralitharan also won the Gold at the CWG 2022.
Goi Wei and Lai Jing are capable enough to beat anyone in women’s singles and men’s singles respectively on their day. Malaysia is in Group B alongside India, Kazakhstan and the UAE. Malaysia’s biggest threat in the group will be India.
India failed to go beyond the quarterfinal stage in the inaugural edition of the Badminton Asia Team Championships in 2017, and it exited the group stage in 2019. But in 2023 they have a strong squad and they would be hoping to finish on the podium this time. P.V. Sindhu leads the Indian squad, with Thomas Cup winners H.S. Prannoy and Lakshya Sen spearheading the Indian campaign in men’s singles. Sindhu will lead India in the women’s singles, with Aakarshi Kashyap serving as backup.
Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly, the 2022 CWG bronze medalist team, will compete in women’s doubles, while Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Castro will be India’s lone entrants in mixed doubles. Chirag Shetty will partner Dhruv Kapila in men’s doubles after Satwiksairaj Rankireddy withdrew due to a hip ailment. The second men’s doubles team will be Krishna Prasad Garga and Vishnuvardhan Goud P. India is paired in Group B alongside Malaysia, the hosts UAE, and Kazakhstan.
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