Doubles key in Thomas, Uber Cups: Chirag Shetty

India get favourable draws in the biennial international championships to be held in Denmark in October.

By Naveen Peter

The Indian badminton teams were handed a favourable draw for the rescheduled Thomas and Uber Cup to be held in Aarhus, Denmark from October 3-11.

The men’s team has been paired alongside the 2016 champions and hosts Denmark, Germany, and Algeria in Group C while the women find themselves in the company of 14-time champions China, Germany, and France in Group D.

While one of the powerhouses of international badminton, Indonesia, has been handed the top seed in the men’s category, six-time winners Japan will headline the event in the women’s section.

“I think, overall, it’s a decent draw,” Indian doubles specialist Chirag Shetty told the Olympic Channel following the announcement.

“I think Denmark is a formidable team. They are extremely strong in the singles and, for that matter, their doubles pair has been doing well too. I think if we are able to win the two doubles and a singles tie against them we definitely stand a chance to top the group.

“But we can’t really say that Germany is an easy team. They have a really good doubles pair as well. Singles may not be their forte, but they will come out strong in the doubles.”

Indian men might have improved chance of medal

While Indian women have shown great promise in the past few editions, winning the bronze at the 2014 and the 2016 editions, the men have found it hard to push themselves into medal contention.

Chirag Shetty, however, felt that things could be different this time, given the composition of the team.

“Definitely, having a quality doubles pair is an advantage going into team competitions,” he said.

“If we are to look at the Indian teams’ a few years back, we would rely a lot on the singles players. So, if they are to have an off day, the team would have no one fall back upon.

“I think at events like the Thomas and Uber Cup, having a strong team is very important. A team that is good in all the departments and not just the singles. That’s something we have now.”

Indian doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have been in top form leading up to 2020.

However, with doubts still prevailing on the viability of hosting an international event given the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian shuttler chose to wait and watch the developments in the coming months.

“Firstly, international travel from India hasn’t resumed yet,” Shetty pointed out. “The only flights taking off from the Indian airports are the emergency ones and the ones on evacuation missions.

“For now, things look dicey. We will have to wait and watch and hope for the best,” said Chirag Shetty.