Praneeth, Prannoy in second round
Basel: Shuttlers Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy reached the second round of the BWF World Championships here on Minday to hand India a good start in the prestigious event.
While world No. 19 Praneeth beat lower-ranked Jason Anthony Ho-Shue of Canada 21-17, 21-16, world No. 30 Prannoy rallied to down Finland's Eetu Heino 17-21, 21-10, 21-11.
Praneeth, who has been recently nominated for the Arjuna Award, took just 39 minutes to get his campaign off to a flying start. He will now take on the winner of the 1st round match between South Korea's Lee Dong Keun and Australia's Daniel Fan in the second round on Tuesday.
The Indian women's doubles pair of Jakkampudi Meghana and Poorvisha Ram notched up a straight-game win over Diana Corleto and Nikte Alejandra of Guatemala to reach the second round. They won the contest 21-10, 21-18.
Meanwhile, experience and mental toughness will be the key to glory when the years biggest para badminton extravaganza — the BWF World Championships — gets underway here on Tuesday.
As many as 300 para badminton stars from 50 nations will be in action this week in Basel which will also play host to the abled-body world championships simultaneously. This is the first time that both the championships are being held together. Para badminton is set to make its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
World No. 1 Pramod Bhagat and Parul Parmer will lead the challenge for India, who have arrived in Basel with a strong 24-member contingent and are expected to be among the medal contenders besides powerhouses Indonesia, China and Japan.
"I am expecting our medals tally in double digits. Besides winning medals, I am also anxious about our qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Few of my players are in big lead already and I wish they can increase the gap here," India coach Gaurav Khanna said. India's best ever show at the worlds came in 2015 when they clinched 12 medals, including four gold.
The Odisha-born Bhagat, who was recently nominated for the Arjuna Award, is looking to continue his good form which has seen him clinch eight gold medals (5 singles, 3 doubles) in six tournaments in 2019.
"I will try to turn my 2017 bronze into gold this time. The competition looks strong but I believe my experience and winning confidence will play a big role in my matches," Bhagat was quoted as saying by the Paralympic Committee of India.
In women's section, India's former world champion Parul Parmar will start favourite in the SL3 event. She will look to maintain her stronghold in the category, having clinched the gold in women's singles SL3 and doubles events in the 2017 championships.