Glasgow: In the absence of defending champion Saina Nehwal, India’s hopes will be on P.V. Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap and the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa as India eye success in the badminton at the 20th Commonwealth Games.
India has had four golds at Commonwealth Games till date, the last two coming from Saina and Jwala/Ashwini at the 2010 edition in Delhi. Prakash Padukone had won the men’s singles medal in 1978 which India retained through Syed Modi four years later.
The 19-year-old Sindhu will now be the highest-ranked player in the Commonwealth Games’ women’s singles event and her main challenge will come from the left-handed Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland, ranked 17th in the world, and Li Michelle of Canada, 20th in the world. According to coach Pullela Gopichand, Gilmour is a tricky player and Sindhu is aware of that test.
“Players like Gilmour and Michelle are tough. But I’m focused and ready to take on the challenges for the event,” said Sindhu.
“It is a good feeling to take part in my first Commonwealth Games. I hope to bring some cheer to India. When the Commonwealth Games was held in 2010 in New Delhi, I never thought of playing but now I have got that opportunity. I saw Saina winning the gold last time on television,” added Sindhu.
Meanwhile, with the existing lineup, India has emerged as the biggest threat to the defending champion Malaysia in mixed team event. Seeded third behind Malaysia and England, India are again strong medal contenders at the event.