PV Sindhu faces high hurdles on the way to the podium in Tokyo


No PV Sindhu medal is complete if it doesn’t match the Japanese, and the stars of the Tokyo Olympics have been preparing to pit them against Akane Yamaguchi in a possible quarter-final. Should the settlements stick to the script, Sindhu would compete at number 7 in the world rankings in the last 8 against the home contender.

The last time they met, Sindhu defeated Yamaguchi – almost a foot shorter but twice as busy – in three straight sets at the All England. It was a significant result in the best Indians fight of 2021. Sindhu defeated the tireless Yamaguchi who can bring back endless and still get the offensive blow in the bend of the back for the Birmingham season.

As she was used to during her successful stints with the majors, the reward for defeating Yamaguchi could be an even more insidious opponent – the deceptive Blender, Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, or the older, talented Intanon Ratchanok.

Sindhu’s half is littered with shuttles looking for their own big medals – with the Indian helping to keep them from glory in past competitions. Tai Tzu alone was pushed out of the Rio Olympics and thrown out of the 2019 World Championships by Sindhu. As such, Sindhu will encounter dangerously unfulfilled ambitions from shuttles for which Tokyo will be the last chance saloon.

The other half of the draw goes to Chinese Chen Yufei, He Bingjiao, Korean An Se Young and gold favorite Nozomi Okuhara.

Be careful before you start

A gold medal, by definition, requires you to show your strength against everyone else in the draw – and Sindhu has a few tricky potential hurdles even before she (possibly) takes on Yamaguchi in the quarter. The Indian plays in Group J with Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi, whose acrobatic defense and deception from behind are not easy to ignore.

The Danish Mia Blichfeldt was easily deposed in early March, but can be particularly combative. This round of 16 opponent should keep her busy.

Great Wall of Momota

B Sai Praneeth had to avoid Viktor Axelsen and front runner Kento Momota from Japan early on. The draw was ugly unfriendly. Should he get past the dangerous floaters Misha Zilberman and Mark Caljouw from Group D, Sai NG Long ka Angus from Hong Kong has a hectic opponent who values ​​his chances against Indians.

Momota’s nerves in trying to win Japan’s first gold at home games can be exploited. Whether Sai Praneeth can muster the faith needed to pierce the most indestructible defenses aimed at gold in Tokyo remains to be seen.

At the 2019 World Cup, where Sai won India’s first bronze medal in 26 years, Momota beat him 21:13, 21: 8. Two months later things got worse with a 21-6 in Denmark. But no one has said that Olympic medals are easy.

Tie for Satwik-Chirag

India’s men’s doubles Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have a tough group stage to negotiate. It’s Sanhok difficulty for the PUBG lovers.

As if it wasn’t enough to be with the world number one, Kevin Sukamuljo – Marcus Gideon – the bustling Minions of Indonesia, there is Lee Yang – Wang Chi Lin from Chinese Taipei, who set fire to the Thai tournaments in January continued and pulsed in the same group A win.

British rider Ben Lane – Sean Vendy, who was selected before his senior compatriots – who won bronze in Rio and is in the middle of a contest, will also have something to prove.

Predicted to be the Olympic Games surprise package for the country chasing its third consecutive medal, the Indians have a nasty, chaotic surprise for themselves to hit the mark. Satwik usually loves to knock his or her way out of these minefields instead of grinding them up. However, the Olympic draw might leave him no choice but to increase aggression.