Indian hopes rest on Saina NehwalAug 10th, 2009 | By editor | Category: In News, Sports
A security personnel keeps a close watch at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on the eve of the World badminton championship. Security has been beefed up in the wake of media reports about a possible terrorist attack. — Photo: G. Krishnaswamy
HYDERABAD: It is time for a reality-check. The Yonex-Sunrise BWF World badminton championship, which commences on Monday, provides a rare opportunity for all those who have been chasing dreams, to come closer to reality. A test of grit, character and skill will be on display during the seven-day event which should separate the champions from the rest of the field.
Not surprisingly, the focus will be on the Chinese contingent. Will the Chinese Wall be breached? Will the irrepressible genius Lin Dan (reigning Olympic and World champion), lead another Chinese sweep as he did in the All England championship early this year is the question on everyone’s minds.
In any World championship, there is always an element of uncertainty. This edition may not be an exception and the relatively unfancied players might be catapulted to stardom.
The ever-trying Peter Gade of Denmark, aged 32, still in search of the elusive World championship win, believes that never before has he entered any edition with such planning and preparations. And, the World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia is also keen to make an impact.
The temperamental genius from Indonesia — Taufik Hidayat — can never be far behind in the list of contenders. This crowd-puller should enjoy the ambience having won the India Open Grand Prix here in March.
One can not forget the presence of World No. 2 Jin Chen, a bronze medallist in the last edition, and also the Beijing Olympics finalist Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia.
The Indian challenge in the men’s section will be led by the elegant World No. 15 Chetan Anand and World No. 25 Arvind Bhat.
Their advantage should be the crowd support and how well they adapt and produce their best will be interesting to watch.
Both feel that the first round matches should be crucial in getting the momentum.
But, indisputably India’s focus will be on women’s World No. 6 Saina Nehwal. Although she had to take a week off from training because of chicken pox, this star performer is determined to make her mark in a field which includes Zhou Mi, Lin Wang and Tine Rasmussen, the top-ranked players in the world in that order. World No. 10 Lin Zhu is the defending champion.
On the other hand, World No. 1 Zhou is looking for a second miracle in this edition. “Having quit the game after representing China, and now settled in Hong Kong, it was a miracle that on my comeback I am the World No.1 now. So, I am confident of another miracle by winning the title,” she said.
Rasmussen, also on a comeback trail after a five-month break, is frank enough not to stake any claims, while World No. 8, Pi Hongyan, feels at home here having clinched the women’s singles title in the India Open earlier.
The general impression these players give is that the women’s singles is wide open.
India’s doubles combinations in men’s and women’s sections are not expected to advance too far but the mixed doubles duo of Jwala Gutta and V. Diju could be the surprise packet.
But South Korea’s Olympic gold medallists, Lee Hyon-jung and Lee Yong-dae, are the favourites in this event.
Despite the perceived security threat, the event is all set to unfold today.