Seven Indians All Set To Represent India in Badminton at Paris Olympics

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As we move closer to the Paris Olympics 2024, the situation regarding the qualification scenario is becoming interesting day by day.Who will qualify,who won’t and who will just miss the bus, all these things make the upcoming tournaments exciting for all the fans and the Badminton fraternity. 

So let’s try and analyze the current qualification scene and the Road to Paris for Indian Shuttlers. As we know, in order to make it to the Paris Olympics, all the shuttlers need to acquire the valuable points to improve their rank in Road To Paris Rankings. Also, if two shuttlers of the same country want to qualify then they must be ranked in Top 16 in the rankings, as far as Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles is concerned.

But in the case of doubles, the entry barrier is not Top 16 but Top 8. Yes, you read it right, so for example, if both Crasto/Ponnappa and Treesa/Gayatri are ranked inside the Top 8 then and ONLY THEN we will see both the pairs at Paris.

Now let’s just quickly take a look at where our shuttlers stand currently. According to the latest Road To Paris Rankings released by BWF, HS PRANNOY is currently at 9th position with 74,897 points. It may look as a done deal for him but he can’t afford getting complacent at this point. As we know,he had Career Best Performances in 2023. Be it Bronze at Asiads and the Worlds, Runner-up at Australia Open, Winning the Malaysia Masters, he was playing the best badminton of his career.

Unfortunately 2024 isn’t going anywhere near to last year. Semifinal at the India Open is an exception to few first round exits. Many have tried to analyse this as the ‘Post-Victor’ change. Those who are unaware,he shifted his racquet from Mizuno to Victor recently in Feb. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that our HSP hasn’t passed his prime and he’ll peak at the Olympics.

Talking about LAKSHYA SEN, he is currently ranked at 12th position with 64,021 points. Credit to his back to back Semifinal appearance at the French Open S750 and the All England S1000, he managed to improve his rank drastically. Unlike Prannoy, Sen was struggling to find his rhythm and form last year. He was finding it difficult to even cross first round last year.

He faced consecutive 8 first round exits last year and early 2024, which he broke in Jan this year. For Lakshya Sen, it might be blessing in disguise that he didn’t peak too early which might be the case with Prannoy. From the last two results, it seems Sen is ‘Peaking at the right time’! Till the start of 2024,Sen and Srikanth were fighting for that 2nd spot. But thanks to his brilliant performances,Sen has his one leg into Paris now.

As far as Women’s Singles is concerned, PV SINDHU has no real threat to qualify for Paris. Unfortunately, no other shuttler comes close to her in ranking, which makes the job bit easy for her. Having said that, she’s not going there for the sake of participating. She has still that hunger in her to win yet another Medal and complete the ‘Hat-Trick’. She’s training with the great Prakash Padukone Sir for the Mission Paris!

Now, our best bet for the Olympics has to be Satwik/Chirag!They recently won the French Open for the 2nd time in their career. Thanks to their dominating performances throught the cycle, they’re sitting at No 2 with 96,353 points in the ranking. They’ll most probably reach the Olympics as No 1 Seed.

Speaking about Women’s doubles, it will be the most exciting category to watch out for from an Indian perspective. Currently Crasto/Ponnappa are ranked 20th with 51,010 points and Treesa/Gayatri on 26th with 44,714 points. As I mentioned earlier, it is next to impossible for both of them to qualify for Paris. But the one pair with more points till the end of all tournaments will represent India at Paris. As of now, it looks too big a task for Treesa/Gayatri.

That’s it. Unfortunately we don’t have a well equipped Mixed Doubles pair currently.

Written by | Shantanu Pande

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