Thomas Cup: Satwik-Chirag duo part of full strength squad to defend crown

PV Sindhu opts out of Uber Cup to prioritise on Paris Olympics preparation

Satwik-Chirag, the world No.1 doubles pair, who tilts the balance in India's favour in the men's event event. (photo: BAI)
Satwik-Chirag, the world No.1 doubles pair, who tilts the balance in India's favour in the men's event event. (photo: BAI)

NH Sports Bureau

The onus will be on the likes of H.S. Prannoy, Lakshya Sen and Satwik-Chirag duo to defend the prestigious Thomas Cup crown as India named a strong squad for upcoming BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2024. Indian men had created history in the 2022 edition when they defeated formidable Indonesia 3-0 in the final to clinch their first-ever crown.

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) announced both men and women’s teams for the marquee team events to be played in Chengdu, China from 27 April to 5 May. PV Sindhu, the two-time Olympic medallist, have opted out of the Uber Cup to focus on her preparations for Paris Olympics.

A 10-member team for Thomas Cup will have five singles players with Kiran George joining Prannoy, Lakshya, Srikanth and Priyanshu Rajawat while Sai Pratheek will be the back-up doubles player to the two first-choice combinations, namely World No. 1 pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila.

With most of the top players going through a tough Paris Olympic qualification phase in the run up to Thomas Cup 2024, the selectors felt that it was important to have an additional singles player in the squad.

For the Uber Cup, the selectors decided to give an opportunity to youngsters after top players in both singles and doubles pulled out. Sindhu informed the selectors that due to back-to-back tournaments leading up to the Olympics, she and her team have decided to skip the Uber Cup to prepare for the Olympics. Top doubles pairs also cited similar reasons and pulled out - with the selectors deciding to go ahead with young players who have done well recently at the National Championships.

Speaking about the team combination, BAI general secretary Sanjay Mishra said: “The senior selection committee, after a lot of discussion, has decided the best possible combination for the Thomas Cup team to defend the title. The committee felt we needed to have one additional player in the singles while in doubles they have picked top two pairs and Sai Pratheek is selected as an additional doubles player after consultation with Mathias Boe (Danish doubles coach) just in case somebody is not fully fit or needs recovery."

Thomas Cup squad: (Singles) HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, Priyanshu Rajawat and Kiran George; (Doubles) Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, MR Arjun, Dhruv Kapila and Sai Pratheek

Uber Cup squad: (Singles) Anmol Kharb, Tanvi Sharma, Ashmita Chaliha and Isharani Baruah; (Doubles) Shruti Mishra, Priya Konjengbam, Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker.

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