PV Sindhu, a medal favourite for India, has received a favourable draw in the preliminary group stage of the women’s singles badminton event at the Tokyo Olympics. However, the silver medallist from Rio 2016, insisted that it does not mean she would have it easy getting into the medal rounds.
The 2019 world champion has been drawn with Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi (ranked 34th) and Israel's Ksenia Polikarpova (ranked 58th) in Group J of the women's singles event. Sindhu has played five times against both her group stage opponents, and have beaten them comprehensively on all occasions.
Also Read | Keshav Dutt Tribute: Indian Hockey’s Harley Riding Legend
"It's a good draw in the group stage. Hong Kong girl plays well and it's going to be a good match," Sindhu, who is ranked seventh in the world, was quoted in a press release by the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
"Everybody is going to be in top form, I hope I do well. Every match is important so I will take match by match. This is the Olympics and it is not going to be easy, each point is very important," added the sixth seed.
In the men's singles, World No. 15 B Sai Praneeth has been placed in Group D alongside World No. 29 Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands and World No. 47 Misha Zilberman of Israel.
"It's a mixed draw, not so tough and not so good. I have to be 100 percent to win all matches and it will be a good match for me," Praneeth, a world championship bronze medallist, said.
World No 10 men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, however, are expected to face a stiff challenge in the league stage.
Also Read | The Indian Athlete and the Trappings of an Olympic Qualification
The duo have been placed in the Group A alongside top-seed and World No. 1 Indonesian duo of Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, who also finished at the top in the Race to Tokyo standing, and World No. 3 Chinese Taipei pair of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin.
England's Ben Lane and Sean Vendy are the fourth pair placed in Group A.
"It's a very even group which means even if you lose a match, you are still in the game because nobody knows what will happen," India's Danish doubles coach Mathias Boe said.
"We'll focus on preparing as much as possible in the last few weeks. We will attack on court and hopefully, we will get good results. I am positive, it's a good challenge for us."
In the singles category, 42 players are divided into 14 groups with each group consisting of three players. Top players from each group will qualify for the knockout stage.
While in the doubles category, 16 pairs are divided into four groups with top two pairs from each group advancing to the last-eight stage.
Badminton matches will begin from July 24.
(With inputs from PTI)
Read more sports stories from Newsclick