The Indian badminton contingent will field the biggest ever team as seven shuttlers have made the cut for the Rio Olympics starting in August. The slots were confirmed after the last qualifying tournament after the Badminton Asia Championship which finished on Sunday. The Badminton federation will make an official announcement in few days but Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, K Srikanth, the doubles pair of Jwala Gutta/ Ashwini Ponappa and men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and Reddy have qualified for Rio Olympics.
Shuttlers will earn a place in the Rio Olympics after the rankings are released on May 5. For the first time in Olympics history, the Indian team will field 2 women’s singles player in the form of PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal without any difficulty. Each country can have 2 if the shuttlers in the top 16 rank.
P Kashyap could have qualified for the Rio Olympics but untimely injuries to him reduced the tally to seven. Since badminton was introduced in Barcelona Olympics Indians struggled to qualify for the event. In London Olympics, the Indian badminton had five players. The only category that they were unable to qualify in Rio was the mixed doubles.
“It is a big achievement for us, a result of our consistent performances. I am quite happy… In fact, eight shuttlers could have qualified but Kashyap suffered an injury at the wrong time,” Gopichand told TOI.
Saina Nehwal who won the bronze medal in London Olympics has a good chance of getting a medal for the country. While PV Sindhu, K Srikanth, Jwala and Ashwini, Manu Attri and Sumeeth had mixed results in the last few months which led to such disappointing results. “The poor performances are because some of them have fitness issues. But they continued to play as they had to qualify for Rio. Now that the qualification process is over, we will get around eight weeks to train. It will be enough for them. I am expecting more medals this time,” Gopi said.