A slew of tournaments are set to keep Indian shuttlers busy.
The recently concluded Tokyo Olympics added another feather to the cap of Indian badminton, thanks to PV Sindhu’s bronze medal. Overall, four badminton players from the Indian contingent were a part of the Tokyo Games namely- PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, Satwik Sairaj, and Chirag Shetty.
In his maiden Olympic Games, Sai Praneeth lost in the group stage. However, Sindhu ended her campaign at the quadrennial event with a podium finish by claiming a historic bronze medal.
Notably, she became the first Indian woman to claim two consecutive Olympic medals- a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and a bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Meanwhile, the first-ever Indian doubles pair to qualify for the Olympics, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty showed immense fearlessness in a gutsy display. They fought hard, but were unfortunately out of medal contention even before the final group match, after they lost their match to the World No. 3 pair from Chinese Taipei.
However, with Tokyo 2020 now in the past, here are the tournaments that are coming up next for Indian badminton. Recently, the BWF announced an updated Tournament Calendar for the remainder of 2021:
The 2021 Sudirman Cup will take place in Vantaa, Finland between 26th September and 3rd October. The tournament was originally set to take place in China. However the venue shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the BWF announced Vantaa as the new host city for the tournament.
The Sudirman Cup is a biennial international badminton championship that is contested by mixed national teams from different countries. India will face defending champions China, three-time semi-finalists Thailand and hosts Finland in Group A of the tournament. The top two teams from each of the four groups will qualify for the quarterfinals. A Sudirman Cup tie is composed of five categories namely men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Thomas and Uber Cup Finals
Originally set to take place from 3-11 October 2020, the Thomas and Uber Cup was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will now take place in Aarhus, Denmark from 9 to 17 October this year. In the Thomas Cup draw, India lies in Group C and will face China, the Netherlands and Tahiti. Meanwhile, in the Uber Cup, India lies in Group B and will face Thailand, Spain and Scotland in the group stage. In perhaps the biggest news, PV Sindhu has pulled out of the tournament owing to fatigue.
While China are the defending men’s champions, Japan are the women’s defending champions.
Syed Modi India International
The Syed Modi India International is a Super 300 tournament. It will take place in Lucknow from 12-17th October this year. The Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium will play host to the event. Generally held in November every year, BWF cancelled the tournament in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a major change, the 2021 Denmark Open, a Super 750 tournament, has now been upgraded to a Super 1000 tournament. It will take place at the Odense Sports Park, Denmark from 19th to 24th October this year. This will be a highly important tournament for all the top players in the world after the Tokyo Olympics.
The Yonex French Open, a Super 750 tournament will take place from 26th – 31st October in Paris, France. The Stade Pierre de Coubertin indoor arena will host the tournament. BWF are yet to release the draws for the tournament.
The deadly COVID-19 pandemic forced the BWF to undertake a couple of changes in the tournament calendar in the past year. Many tournaments were either cancelled or postponed. This affected the qualification of players for the Tokyo Olympics significantly. However, now with the updated calendar, hopefully, all tournaments should take place as planned.