India have been drawn with defending champions China, three-time semi-finalists Thailand and hosts Finland in Group A of the BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2021. The mixed-team badminton tournament will be played in Vantaa, Finland from September 26 to October 3.
India and Finland have been seeded in the 9-16 bracket in the 16-team tournament. China, who have won the Sudirman Cup 11 times in its 16 editions, are the top seeds, while Thailand are in the 5/8 bracket. Japan, runners-up in the previous edition in 2019, are the second seeds.
The top two teams from each of the four groups will qualify for the quarter-finals.
There are five matches in a Sudirman Cup tie: men’s singles, women's singles, men’s doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.
The Indian team for the Sudirman Cup and the subsequent Thomas & Uber Cup will be picked after selection trials to be conducted by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) from August 28 onwards.
Trials to be held for Sudirman Cup
PV Sindhu (world No. 7), Saina Nehwal (world No. 19), B Sai Praneeth (world No. 15), Kidambi Srikanth (world No. 14) and the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (world No. 10) have been selected directly for the Sudirman Cup and the Thomas & Uber Cup to be held in Aarhus, Denmark from October 9 to 17.
"We have selected the players who are ranked inside the top 20 in the world directly for the two tournaments. They don't need to go through the trials," BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania told PTI.
Lakshya Sen, HS Prannoy, Sameer Verma, Sourabh Verma, Parupalli Kashyap, Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey will take part in the men's singles trials.
In the women's singles trials, Ashmita Chaliha, Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap, Tasnim Mir, Vaishnavi Jakka Reddy and Gayatri Gopichand are expected to participate.
The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy are also among the names for the trials for the Sudirman Cup and the Thomas & Uber Cup.
The Sudirman Cup was first held in 1989 in Indonesia. India first participated in the tournament only in 2009 and have a best result of a quarter-final finish in the 2011 edition.