A WEEK’S rest after three back-to-back tournaments, Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will now train their eyes on ending India’s 54-year-old title jinx at the Asia Badminton Championship beginning here Wednesday. It was Dinesh Khanna, who had become the men’s singles champion at the Asian Championship in 1965. Last year, HS Prannoy and Saina Nehwal won bronze medals in their respective categories.
The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Saina had won two more bronze at the Asia Championship in 2010 and 2016, while Sindhu claimed the bronze at the 2014 event at South Korea. The duo will have their task cut out in a draw which boosts of the likes of Akane Yamaguchi, Chen Yufei, Ratchanok Inthanon among others even though defending champion and India’s nemesis Tai Tzu Ying has withdrawn from the event.
Sindhu had reached her second semi-final this season at the Singapore Open before her inexplicable meltdown against Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara, while Saina perished in the quarter-finals after going down in straight games to the same opponent. Sindhu, who had won the World Tour Finals in December, will look for her maiden title of the season when she begins her campaign against Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi. A win is likely to pit Sindhu against Pornpawee Chochuwong, who had beaten Saina at Malaysia Open.