Badminton: All you need to know about the Thailand Open
Badminton is finally set to resume after facing a stoppage owing to the coronavirus pandemic that has plagued the world since 2020. The focus will be on Thailand hosting three tournaments in successive weeks. The proceedings start with the Yonex Thailand Open (January 12-17). This will be followed by the Toyota Thailand Open and the BWF World Tour Finals. Here are further details.
The Yonex Thailand Open is set to be the eighth tournament of the 2020 BWF World Tour. The tournament which is sanctioned by the BWF is the first of the three tournaments to take place this month. Participation in both the Thailand Opens is mandatory to qualify for the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals. All these tournaments carry precious points for Tokyo Olympics qualification.
India's premier badminton player Saina Nehwal has a crucial period ahead of her. The 22nd-ranked player needs to start well. At the Yonex Thailand Open, Saina was set to open her campaign against world No. 4 Nozomi Okuhara, who was forced to pull out. Meanwhile, Saina will be up against world number five Ratchanok Intanton in round one of the Toyota Thailand Open.
PV Sindhu, who is ranked number 7, has virtually made certain of automatic qualification by being ranked among the top 16 in the race for the Olympics. The current world champion is set to face Denmark shuttler Mia Blichfeldt in the women's singles first round at the Yonex Thailand Open. Sindhu will face Busanan Ongbamrungphan in her first match of the Toyota Thailand Open.
Earlier, the BWF announced the draws for both the Yonex Thailand Open and the Toyota Thailand Open. In men's singles, top seed Kento Momota withdrew from the tournaments after testing positive for COVID-19. This led to the entire Japanese contingent pulling out. Meanwhile, six Indian men's players are set to participate in the singles event, barring Lakshya Sen, who is nursing a back injury.