Commonwealth Games: Medal hopes from PV Sindhu, Thomas Cup-winning team in badminton


India are competing in 19 sports at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Badminton is one sport where the expectation of getting multiple medals, including gold, would be high. And the expectations aren't lofty either considering the presence of two-time Olympic medallist and former world champion PV Sindhu. Additionally, the men's team defied all forecasts to win the Thomas Cup.

Commonwealth Games: India scheduleResultsMedals tally

In the previous Games, India had won six medals in badminton - two golds, three silver and a bronze. Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Ashwini Ponnappa, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are the ones returning. The only ones missing are Saina Nehwal and N Sikki Reddy.

Historically, India have won 25 medals at the Commonwealth Games in badminton including seven golds. So the question remains: how many will India add to its tally this time around?

Badminton action at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, being held in Birmingham, starts with the mixed team event's defence of their gold medal. Although, unlike the noise that an India-Pakistan fixture creates in cricket and hockey, this one is expected to be a timid and straightforward affair.

India's success in the mixed team event at Gold Coast broke Malaysia and England's dominance. PV Sindhu, one of the best women's players in the world, is coming into it on the back of winning the Singapore Open two weeks back. In men's singles, Srikanth and Lakshya are great options to have. On their day, the Satwik-Chirag pairing is tough to beat.

The highlight, and toughest, for India, will be to repeat the mixed team event gold. England, eight-time gold medallists, have receded with no members in the top-10 rankings. Malaysia, five-time champions, have been taken down by India in recent team events. India beat Malaysia for the mixed gold in 2018 and won the 2022 Thomas Cup by beating the Asian side along the way.

The mixed team event will provide the impetus that the shuttlers would need for the singles and doubles events that will follow. Placed in Group 1, India play Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia before the quarter-final lineup gets arranged.

Bronze medal, check. Silver medal, check. Gold medal, pending. Top-seeded PV Sindhu is a strong contender for the gold medal - the one missing in her ever-growing list of awards. She came close in 2018 but lost in the final to Nehwal.

The 27-year-old has suffered blips against the likes of Tai Tzu Ying and Ratchanok Intanon but has been largely consistent on the BWF Tour.

The title in Singapore would definitely provide her with some confidence. “This is my first title as a 27-year-old so I can say this is a special one. Playing in Singapore after a long time too, this win means a lot,” she said after the win.

“They were hard-fought battles so it was a bit upsetting but each match mattered. And finally, I could get this win, cross that barrier. I hope this trend continues for the rest of the year,” she added.

On the 2022 CWG, she said, "It is going to be a team event. We have to give 100 percent and be in 100 percent form. As a team, we need to work (towards it) and after that, there is an individual event."

"I hope I give my best, it is not going to be easy, there are some good players. So hoping for as many medals as we can."

]Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth made the cut for the squad based on the rankings criteria with HS Prannoy missing out. The recent form, though, has Prannoy above the duo. Although, Sen and Srikanth performed exceptionally in the Thomas Cup which would boost their morale.

The absence of Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia, winner of the Asian Championships this year, has made things easier for the Indian player. Also in the mix for a medal are Ng Tze Yong (Malaysia) and Loh Kean Yew (Singapore).

Much of the credit for the Thomas Cup gold went to the doubles team of Satwik and Chirag who pulled multiple wins which didn't allow the singles to come under pressure. Winners of the men's doubles silver medal in 2018, Satwik and Chirag are second seeds for the Games. The biggest threat could come from Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik. The Indians have never beaten them in four matches.

In women's doubles, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will join forces. They've been in good touch this year. The pair won the Odisha Open Super 100 title, finished runners-up in the Syed Modi International Super 300 and made the semi-finals of the All England Open.

India have a solitary entry in the mixed doubles event. Ashwini Ponnappa, winner of five CWG medals, teams up with B Sumeeth Reddy. The task for the pair will be to win India's first mixed doubles medal at the Commonwealth Games. They could be equally pivotal in the mixed team event.

India badminton squad for 2022 Commonwealth Games: PV Sindhu, Aakarshi Kashyap, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri Gopichand, Ashwini Ponnappa, Kidambi Srikanth, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Lakshya Sen, B Sumeeth Reddy


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