Asian Games badminton draw: Sat-Chi, Prannoy lead Indian medal hopes in individual events

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are one of India's medal hopes at the Asian Games Alex Pantling/Getty Images

There was perhaps no other Indian sport that went into the Hangzhou Asian Games as full of hope as badminton.

India has never won an Asiad gold medal in badminton, one of the most internationally successful sports of the country.

India last won a men's singles medal at the Asiad in 1982, a bronze for Syed Modi. Both droughts could very well end in Hangzhou.

It certainly won't be easy, not when the Games are hosted in China, with tough draws and an injury cloud hanging over HS Prannoy. Winning an Asiad medal is arguably harder than one at the World Championships, given that happens every year except in an Olympic one.

But if there was a year the odds favour India, it has to be 2023. Already, the Indian men have broken new ground by winning their first team medal since 1986. That they lost to China in a close final could just be the fuel they needed.

The men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are the reigning Asian champions, having won the title in April, and HS Prannoy is coming off a first World Championships medal.

That there are proven medal hopes even in a season when PV Sindhu, last time's silver medallist and one of India's greatest athletes, is having a torrid season, is telling of Indian badminton's recent consistency.

The individual events get underway from October 2. Here's a look into India's draw and chances in the team competition:

Who is playing the individual events?

There is a bit of a cloud over this as only two entries per country are allowed.

India's Asian Games squad was named in May after a round of selection trials where higher-ranked players were exempt. The highlight was Kidambi Srikanth beating Lakshya Sen to earn the second spot. Lakshya has since hit good form while Srikanth has been erratic and after Sunday, he may go more off-kilter after losing the crucial match in the men's team final on Sunday.

Men's singles: HS Prannoy, Kidambi Srikanth

Women's singles: PV Sindhu, Ashmita Chaliha

Men's doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty and Dhruv Kapila/MR Arjun

Women's doubles: Gayatri Gopichand/Treesa Jolly and Ashwini Ponnappa/Tanisha Crasto

Mixed doubles: Rohan Kapoor /N Sikki Reddy and Sai Pratheek K/Tanisha Crasto.

Men's Singles

Fifth seed Prannoy, who missed the team event final due to a back injury, has a first-round bye and will have some time to recover before taking on Batdavaa Munkhbat of Mongolia in the second round.

His first real test will be in the quarterfinal, where he could likely face world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand - who he trails 0-2 in the head-to-head. Unseeded Lee Zii Jia is also lurking in this section and could spring a surprise.

For a medal, Prannoy has to make the semifinal, which will mean beating someone he is yet to beat. If he does, he could play either top seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting or sixth seed Li Shi Feng. It's a tough ask but Prannoy has the ability and experience of raising his game when needed. He did beat Viktor Axelsen in Denmark for a world championship medal, after all!

Srikanth plays Le Duc Phat of Vietnam in the opening round and a win will pit him against Lee Yungyu of South Korea. He has a possible third-round encounter against second seed Kodai Naraoka while Loh Kean Yew [7] in the other seed in his section.

Given his potential, Srikanth could notch some upsets but a lot will depend on how much he has recovered mentally from the men's team final.

Women's Singles

The big question is which version of Sindhu will show up at Hangzhou?

The silver medallist from 2018 has had a tough season since her injury comeback in January and will be looking to change that at a tournament she has always done well at.

Read more - Will the real PV Sindhu please stand up?

Seeded seventh, she will open her campaign against Wen Chi Hsu of Chinese Taipei in the second round, who she has beaten in their only meeting earlier this year.

Her third round will likely be against Indonesia's Putri Kusuma Wardani - they have played twice this year and split them 1-1.

If she crosses these two hurdles, she could run into China's fourth seed He Bing Jao in the quarters. A very familiar opponent, she leads Sindhu 10-9 and if it happens, this could be just the kind of match-up Sindhu needs to rediscover her touch. A win would mean a medal and a much-needed turning point for the Indian.

Ashmita Chahila also has a bye in the first round and will take on fifth-seeded Indonesia's Gregoria Mariska Tunjung in the second round. Defending champion Tai Tzu Ying is the other seed in this quarter.

Men's Doubles

This is the big one to keep an eye on - world number 3 Satwik-Chirag have been one of the most consistent pairs this season and shoulder big hopes.

The second seeds start against Lui Chun Wai and Chow Hin Long of Hong Kong (first meeting) and are expected to play Indonesian pair of Leo Rolly Carnando and Daniel Marthin in the second round, who they lead 2-0.

The doubles is a smaller draw and they are the only seeds in their section so should make the semifinals with ease... where they could run into reigning world champions Seo Seungjae and Kang Minhyuk. They lost to the South Koreans in the team semi-finals but lead them 3-1 on the tour.

But given how erratic men's doubles has been this season on the BWF Tour, it remains an open draw with the like of former world champions Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, and Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi unseeded.

The other Indian pair, Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun, have a draw as tough as it gets with Japanese pair of Hoki and Kobayashi in their opener and potentially the olympic champions next.

Women's Doubles

India's no 1 pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand have not had a good last few months, after a solid start to the season which saw them medal at the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships in February this year and reach the All England semifinals again.

They start against Aminath Razzaq and Fathimath Razzaq of Maldives in the first round and will run into third seeds Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong - the women's team champions - in the second.

Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponappa will open against Maisa Ismail and Aisath Rasheed of Maldives in the first round but will likely face world No. 5 Zhang Su Xian and Zheng Yuw in the second round.

Mixed Doubles

Rohan Kapoor and N Sikki Reddy will face world No. 12 Lai Shevon Jemie and Goh Soon Huat of Malaysia.

Tanisha and Sai Pratheek beat Leong Lok Chong and Weng Chi NG of Macau in the first round and will meet Chen Tang Jie and Toh Ee Wei in the second.