Sindhu, Saina lead Indian challenge at World Championships

Copenhagen: An exuberant P V Sindhu would look to improve the colour of her medal even as a fit-again Saina Nehwal eyes her maiden podium finish when a confident Indian badminton team starts its campaign in the World Championship here .

Sindhu, fresh from a bronze in Glasgow Commonwealth Games, would try to ensure that she ends up better than third, a position she managed in the previous edition which made her the first Indian to win a medal at the prestigious event.

Saina, on the other hand, is back in action after taking a break to recover from the leg injury she sustained during her Australian Open triumph in June, as a result of which she was forced out of the Commonwealth Games.

"Till the end of July, I had not fully recovered from the injury which I sustained after Australian Open. This has affected my training but in the last three weeks, I have caught up and feel I will do my best in this tournament," Saina told PTI ahead of the mega-event.

Seeded seventh, Saina has been handed a first-round bye and she will open her campaign on Tuesday against the winner of the match between New Zealand`s Anna Rankin and Russia`s Natalia Perminova.

Sindhu, seeded 11th, has also received a first-round bye and will start against the winner of the match between Russia`s Olga Golovanova and Bulgaria`s Linda Zetcheri.

In men`s singles, Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Parupalli Kashyap will be India`s best bet for a medal. He will be up against Germany`s Dieter Domke in the first round Monday.

Among others in the fray, Ajay Jayram will face fourth seed Kanichi Tago of Japan in his opening match, while the fast-rising K Srikanth will square off against Slovenia`s Iztok Utrosa.

Another strong medal contender for India is the women`s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa, who had won a bronze in the 2011 edition of the Championship. The duo has got a walkover into the second round to start with.

The pair is now up for a stiff fight as the fifth-seeded Chinese team of Quing Tian and Yunlei Zhao awaits the two in the second round.

The other Indian pair in the women`s doubles draw is that of Prajkta Sawant and Arathi Sara Sunil. They will fight it out against the Thai pair of Puttita Suparjirakul and Sapsiree Terattanchai in the opening round Monday.

The men`s doubles draw features two Indian pairs. While Akshay Dewalkar and Pranaav Jerry Chopra take on Yun Lung Chan and Chun Hei Lee of China in their opening match, Sumeeth Reddy B and Manu Attri will face Russia`s Nikita Khakimov and Vasily Kuznetsov.

Ponappa will also be seen in action in the mixed doubles event, pairing with Tarun Kona. The pair will face local favourites Anders Kristiansen and Julie Houmann.

Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan will square off against the Brazillian team of Hugo Arthuso and Fabiana Silva.

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