PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen to headline prolific 2021 for Indian badminton

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PV legend Sindhu grew up with a second Olympic medal, Kidambi Srikanth regained his touch with a historic world championship silver medal and Lakshya Sen continued to dazzle, but the listless performance in the team events was a significant low for Indian badminton over a year in reverse. The COVID-19 pandemic is said to have disrupted the international calendar with many events canceled or rescheduled, but Indian commuters have seized the opportunities even as a victory eluded them.

While Rio Olympics silver medalist Sindhu led the way with a bronze medal in Tokyo and a silver in the World Tour final, Srikanth and Lakshya provided an end-of-season special. year, winning a silver and bronze medal respectively at the World Championships. .

It was a moment of celebration as for the first time, two Indian men returned with medals from an edition of the World Championships, a feat which had already been achieved by Sindhu and Saina Nehwal in the ladies’ singles event at the event. Glasgow in 2017.

However, neither Sindhu, nor Srikanth or Lakshya, who reached the final at the Dutch Open, were able to cover the full distance as the India draft continued.

The fact that the BWF decided to cut nine tournaments in 12 weeks after resuming the international circuit also did not help matters as many players were injured.

Sindhu, the 2019 world champion, was overpowered during the Thai stage earlier this year, but she quickly reached the final at the Swiss Open in March before the coronavirus forced three qualifiers to be suspended. Olympic.

Already assured of a place at the Tokyo Games, Sindhu then sealed her place among the greats by adding a bronze medal to Rio’s silver medal in the biggest multisport extravaganza.

She then took a two-month hiatus and had a steady run after her return, recording three semi-finals at Roland Garros, the Indonesia Masters and the Indonesia Open.

Sindhu then sizzled in the World Tour Finals, which ended in a silver medal.

The final finish raised hopes of a successful defense of his world championship gold medal, but that was not the case as Sindhu returned empty-handed from the prestigious event for the first time since. 2017.

As Sindhu’s season ended with a quarter-final in Huelva, Srikanth and Lakshya more than made up for the disappointment.

Since winning four titles in five finals in 2017, Srikanth had struggled with fitness and form and the lowest point came when he failed to secure Tokyo’s place due to ‘a mixture of injuries and cancellation of qualifying.

However, the 28-year-old from Guntur overcame his disappointment and slowly regained his pace with two semi-finals at the Hylo Open and Indonesia Masters before an explosive performance at the World Championships.

Srikanth picked up one superlative victory after another to compete in his first final since the 2019 Indian Open and in doing so became the first man to win a silver medal in India at the World Championships.

If Srikanth went from despair to ecstasy in a matter of months, Lakshya, 20, charmed with his youthful exuberance as he continued his strong run from 2019 when he won five titles before COVID-19 did. ‘interrupted its progress somewhat.

The Almora youngster scripted a final at the Dutch Open, advanced to the semi-finals at Hylo, and then reached the knockout stage in the World Tour final on his debut.

Lakshya went on to clinch a bronze medal at the World Championships, joining his mentor Prakash Padukone and B Sai Praneeth.

Struggling with gastroesophageal reflux disease and then after the aftermath of COVID, HS Prannoy also ended things in style with a quarter-final in Spain.

It was also a decent year for the men’s duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy as they reached the semi-finals at the Toyota Thailand Open, Swiss Open and Indonesian Open before the the latter’s injury does wreak havoc.

The duo also won two of the three games against higher-ranking opponents at the Tokyo Olympics, but missed the quarter-final after it was decided based on the number of games won and lost.

Injury-plagued London Olympics bronze medalist Saina, however, had a difficult year as she failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and was also forced to withdraw from the Championship. of the world for the first time in his career.

The former world No. 1 returned to the Uber Cup circuit but it was cut short due to multiple injuries, including a groin problem.

While the singles players performed well, India performed poorly in the team events – Sudirman Cup and Thomas and Uber Cup finals.

With star players absent, India quickly left the Sudirman Cup after winning just one of three matches.

The men’s and women’s teams produced a slightly better show in the Thomas and Uber Cup final, finishing in the quarter-finals.

Promoted

The only bright spot was that figures like Aditi Bhatt, Malvika Bansod, the pair of double men made up of Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun, Gayatri Gopichand, Rutuporna Panda, Tanisha Crasto, Tasneem Mir and Theresa Jolly benefited enormously from the campaign.

Other upcoming commuters such as Aman Farogh Sanjay, Revati Devasthale, Priyanshu Rajawat also gave Indian badminton hope by registering international wins last year.

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