The highly anticipated badminton tournament, the All England Badminton Championship, will commence from Wednesday, 6th March 2019. India’s shuttling stars like P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will be in the fray of the competition.
These are only the three seeded players from the country with only the top 32 Badminton World Federation (BWF) ranked players qualify for the tournament. Kidambi Srikanth (seeded seventh) is only the third Indian to ever get seeded in the men’s event.
However, history will not be on the side of the Indians. There has been a two-decade-long drought since the country last won at the All England Championships.
Current chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, who is also the mentor of Sindhu and Saina, was the last ever Indian to victorious in the tournament, back in 2001. Apart from him, the only other Indian to have won the prestigious title was the legendary shuttler Prakash Padukone, who defeated Indonesia’s two-time champion Liem Swie King in 1980.
However, things will not be easy this time. What makes it an even more daunting task is the fact that the Indian shuttlers have not been handed encouraging draws.
Beware! Tough Draws Ahead
India’s Fifth-seeded Olympic silver-medallist PV Sindhu will start her campaign with a contest against the former World No. 2 Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea.
London Olympics bronze-medallist and seeded eighth Saina will entertain Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland at the $1 million event.
When it comes to their previous performances, both the star shuttlers had very different results against these first-round opponents.
Saina, on one hand, has an unassailable lead of 6-0 over Gilmour. Sindhu, on the other, has had to struggle against Sung Ji to gain an 8-6 lead in their 14 meetings previously.
However, in the recent while, it has been the South Korean who has dominated the Indian. Sung Ji has defeated Sindhu on two occasions in 3 meetings last year.
Nonetheless, if Singhu manages to out Ji aside, she will have to face either Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia or Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong in the second round.
Out of the 1️⃣4️⃣meetings between @Pvsindhu1 and #SungJiHyun, the ??World No 6 has a steady 8️⃣-6️⃣ lead over the ?? stalwart and will look to extend the streak when the duo face off on court tomorrow in R1 of the @YonexAllEngland 2019. Let's win this girl! ??#IndiaontheRise pic.twitter.com/emBe2FL8hs
— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) March 5, 2019
A win there will most probably put the Indian in a contest against the inform third-seeded Chen Yufei of China in the quarterfinals.
Although Sindhu edges 4-3 past the Chinese in the head-to-head records, it was the Indian who lost to Yufei at the 2018 China Open last year.
However, Sindhu will take confidence from the fact that the momentum is on her side this time around. She an impressive end to the season last year, having won silver medals at multiple tournaments before finishing 2018 with the coveted BWF World Tour title.
Saina to Face Ying
The experienced Olympic bronze-medallist and former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal is the only Indian woman shuttler to ever come close to winning the coveted title. It was in 2015 that she came close to win the All England Championship only to finish as runners-up.
The veteran player has been in a good form of late, having won the Indonesia Masters title in January besides beating Sindhu in the nationals.
Saina will be facing either Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt of Denmark or Cai Yanyan of China if she wins in the first round. Whereas Saina has been dominant against the Dane, she has never played against Yanyan before.
The current World No. 9, if she wins in the second round, is likely to face her feared nemesis Tai Tzu Ying in the Quarters. The Taiwanese have troubled Nehwal for the better part of last year, having defeated her on 12 consecutive occasions.
Ying, thus, leads the overall head-to-head record with 14-5 playing against Saina.
Srikanth & Sameer Look for Inspiration
In the men’s event, Kidambi Srikanth will play against Frenchman Brice Leverdez in the opening round whereas an in-form Sameer Verma will start his campaign against Denmark’s former World no.1 Viktor Axelsen.
— Kidambi Srikanth (@srikidambi) March 5, 2019
Very much like Saina, Srikanth has been returning back from a forgettable year with some stunning display in 2019. The top-ranked Indian was in good touch at the Malaysia and Indonesia, having reached the quarterfinals.
Sameer, who had managed to reach the knockout stages of the World Tour Finals, will be competing in his first ever BWF event of the season.
India’s squad at the All England Championships
- Srikanth Kidambi
- B Sai Praneeth
- HS Prannoy
- Sameer Verma
- PV Sindhu
- Saina Nehwal
- Manu Attri- BS Reddy
- Meghana Jakkampudi – PS Ram
- Ashwini Ponnappa – N Sikki Reddy
- Pranaav Jerry Chopra – N Sikki Reddy
Where to Watch the All England Championship?
The tournament will be broadcasted by the Star India Network. It can also be streamed live on Hotstar.
— ❤️Pushpa Varma❤️ (@Pvlatha1) March 5, 2019
|Number of Matches
|Wed 6 Mar
|Round of 32 (Opener)
|Thurs 7 Mar
|Round of 16
|Fri 8 Mar
|Quarter Finals (Session 1)
|Fri 8 Mar
|Quarter Finals (Session 2)
|Sat 9 Mar
|Semi Finals (Session 1)
|Sat 9 Mar
|Semi Finals (Session 2)
|Sun 10 Mar
Where can I buy tickets?
The tickets for the All England Championships can be bought on the tournament’s official website.