Former champions Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu headline the show as the India Open badminton tournament – January 11-16 – takes place at Indira Gandhi Stadium.
The $ 400,000 Super 500 event will kick off the 2022 BWF World Tour season. However, no spectators will be allowed due to the Covid-19 situation.
World Championships silver medalist Srikanth will compete in the men’s singles section with world champion Loh Kean Yew and bronze medalist Lakshya Sen vying for their first India Open crown.
Srikanth, a seed and former men’s singles champion, said the tournament offered him the perfect opportunity to build on his success at the World Championships.
âIt’s a long season for all of us with the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games slated for later this year. Starting the season at home gives me the perfect opportunity to start the year on a winning note, âsaid the former world No.1.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist and Indian shuttle queen Sindhu will lead the charge in the women’s singles section which also includes two-time champion Saina Nehwal, Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan and young Singaporean Jia Min Yeo.
2017 champion Sindhu thinks playing without fans would be a bit of a drag, but she was as motivated as anyone to clinch her second tournament title.
“I always look forward to playing in New Delhi, because the India Open has always had a full house with a great atmosphere, because winning a home tournament is always special for any player,” a- she declared.
The 10th edition of the tournament, which takes place after a two-year hiatus after the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, will see participants from 19 countries in five categories vying for the prize.
World Championship bronze medalist Sen is also keen to leave his mark in his first appearance in the home tournament. âI always look forward to playing the Indian Open. I had to wait two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but I’m confident I’m doing my best this week. “
Due to Covid restrictions, strict protocols are followed and all players must pass mandatory tests before entering the site as the main draw starts from Tuesday.
Foreign players as well as Indian players, ranked among the top 25 in the world, will stay at the same hotel.
âAll participating players will take the necessary safety precautions upon arrival in New Delhi according to protocol and will be tested daily at the hotel and from there they will have shuttles to the stadium, play matches and return to new to the hotel, “organizers said in a statement.” All players as well as match officials, BWF and BAI officials, support staff, suppliers and others involved will be required to pass a Compulsory Covid testing every day outside the stadium, and only after testing negative will they be allowed inside the venue. “
Meanwhile, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) revealed on Sunday that the England team withdrew from the Indian Open after the country’s doubles specialist Sean Vendy and coach Nathan Robertson have tested positive for Covid-19, before their arrival in India.