Rio 2016: When Saina Is Not The Sole Hope For A Medal

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Rio Badminton

India has reached a historic high this year, by sending seven shuttlers to play for the Olympics. Some repeated players, while some are making their debut; India has high hopes from the players who all scored a place for them quite recently in the games. There are few dark horses this season, and few who have a lot of pressure of winning bestowed upon them due to their past records. However, win or no-win, the players have definitely created history and are going to set a benchmark for all the players around the world.

The former World No.1, is all set to represent India in Women’s single. Saina Nehwal is the first Indian to win a medal in Badminton at the Olympics. She achieved this feat by winning the Bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. She is also the first Indian after Prakash Padukone and the first Indian woman to become World No.1 badminton player. Besides these, she is the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships and was also the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament, by clinching the Indonesia Open on 21 June 2009. She is being tipped as the favorite for these games, as a lot of people have pinned their hopes on her for winning an Olympic medal again, while hoping the bronze to be a gold.

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For the first time ever, accompanying her would be the debutante P.V Sindhu, competing for a medal in Women’s Singles, and is being termed as the dark horse for the game due to her amazing form and past accomplishments. The two-time World championship bronze medalist- Sindhu and a three-time Macau Open winner feels that being one of the two big prospects in women’s singles for an Olympic medal can be a huge motivation for her. One of Sindhu’s earliest distinctions was winning the senior national title in January 2012, which made her the only player since Prakash Padukone to hold both the senior and junior titles at the same time.

It would be an interesting sight to have both these Indian representatives compete against each other for the coveted title.

Also, making their debut are- K Srikanth for Men’s Single, and Men’s double pair of Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth. This is the first time ever in the history of our Indian Olympic athletes that India is making a representation for Men’s double, which is nothing short of an amazing achievement. As for Srikanth, he is another player that is being termed as the underdog having the ability to secure a medal this Olympics. Srikanth, currently ranked World No. 11, will play against Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan, both of them being accredited players.

 

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For Women’s double, we have the winning team of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnapa, who possess the outside chance of winning a medal as they have always done well in big tournaments. Qualifying for the Olympics for the country is a big deal, and doing that twice in a row is on a different level — one that’s been achieved by these South Indian badminton stars Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. Both have the desired team work and coordination that makes their win more realistic than just relying on hope.

 

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In the end, for these players, it is not just about dreaming and making a token experience. The intention is to win a medal and glorify the country further than they have already done.

Yugansha Malhotra

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