The 16th edition of the prestigious biennial international badminton championship, the Total BWF Sudirman Cup will be commencing from 19 May 2019.Hosted in Nanning, China, it will be contested by the mixed national teams of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) member associations. South Korea is the defending champion.
After having a mixed season so far, the Indian shuttlers will be looking to make a mark in the competition traditionally dominated by the southeast Asian countries.
2019 Sudirman Cup Preview
The Indian team is seeded in the Group 1 of the Sudirman Cup. This means that if they finish in the top two of the three member table, they will progress to the Quarterfinals. However, that won’t be easy since they have two of the toughest opponents in the form of China and Malaysia in the group. While China have the most successful team in the competition with 10 titles. On the other, Malaysia have the capability to defeat any team on their day.
Frequent injuries and erratic form will make life more difficult for the 2018 Commonwealth Games mixed team gold medalists.
|Group 1A||Group 1B||Group 1C||Group 1D|
| Chinese Taipei|
China obviously remain the firm favourites to make past the group. They have the home advantage, history and a psychological advantage with them entering the competition. The Chinese team had defeated India in the quarterfinals by 3-0 and had gone on to feature in the finals. However, it lost the hard fought battle at the hands of South Korea by 2-3. Thus, winning against China on their home soil is no less than a dream for the Indians.
Things get more complicated when you consider that the second opponent is none other than Malaysia. Agreed, Kidambi Srikanth is expected to face either World No. 21 Lee Zii Jia or World No. 73 Cheam June Wei which could be rated as easy pickings for the Indian shuttler. But it must also be beared in mind that the World No. 9 was eliminated by World No. 41 shuttler Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in the Asian Badminton Championships’ round of 32. Moreover, Malaysia cannot be underestimate in this competition. In the 2015 edition, it was this team itself who had knocked India out of the group stage 2-3 defeat.
Although opportunity lies before them, but the Indian shuttlers would have to step up. 2019 has particularly not been a great season for the Indians with only Saina Nehwal winning a title (Indonesia Masters).
Kidambi Srikanth has managed to only make it to the quarters of Malaysia Masters, Indonesia Masters and All England Open. Improved performances will be expected from him this time around.
The women’s singles is where the real opportunity lies for India to make headways in the tournament. Unlike the tough fight in the men’s circuit, the women’s competition is very much leveled. In fact, except Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying, anyone is capable of beating anyone. Further good news is that India’s Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu will be facing Chen Yufei and He Bingjiao respectively.
Saina has taken some time to recuperate from a surgery late last year. But still remains the country’s only title winner this year. The 29-year-old shuttler avenged her semis defeat at the hands of Carolina Marin with winning at Indonesia Masters by beating the Spaniard. However, it must be noted that the latter had to retire in the final after catching an injury. Much will be expected from Saina Nehwal this time.
India’s history in the competition
The Sudirman Cup has never been India’s stronghold. They made it to the quarter-finals of the tournament in 2011 and 2017. However, the Chinese got the better of them on both the occasions, winning 3-1 and 3-0 respectively. India have never made it to the semifinals of the competition and their highest rank stands at 5 (achieved in 2011 and 2017).
Head to Head
India 0-3 China
India 0-1 Malaysia
Sudirman Cup 2019 Schedule
India vs Malaysia: 21st May
India vs China: 22nd May
Quarter Finals: 23rd-24th May
Semi Finals: 25th May
Finals: 26th May
Sudirman Cup 2019 Venue
Guangxi Sports Center Gymnasium, Nanning, China
Where to Watch
The Sudirman Cup will be broadcasted live on Star Sports 2 in India.
Indian Squad for Sudirman Cup 2019
Kidambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Manu Attri, Pranav Chopra, Sumeeth Reddy.
Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Ashwini Ponnappa, Poorvisha S Ram, Sikki Reddy, J Meghana.
About Sudirman Cup
The Sudirman Cup is a world mixed team badminton championship that takes place every 2 years. The competition has five matches in every round: men and women’s singles, men and women’s doubles along with mixed doubles.
The Cup has been named after Dick Sudirman who was a former Indonesian badminton player and the founder of the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI). The first edition was held in Bung Karno Stadium, Central Jakarta, Indonesia back in May 24 – May 29, 1989.
Traditionally, only 8 countries have managed to reach through to the semifinal round of the Sudirman Cup: China, Denmark, England, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand.
In terms of titles won, China is the most successful team with 10 trophies. They are followed by South Korea (4) and Indonesia (1).
India will continue their hunt for an elusive medal when top shuttlers @Pvsindhu1 and @NSaina spearhead the Indian challenge at the prestigious Sudirman Cup which gets underway here on Sunday #Olympic #badminton #thefederalnews pic.twitter.com/6v9Pq1aD3q
— The Federal (@TheFederal_in) May 18, 2019