The All England Open Badminton Championship is the oldest and a highly respected tournament on badminton circuit. Held annually, the tournament developed after the success of the world’s first open tournament held in Guildford in 1898.
In the last couple of years, India has emerged a strong superpower in the badminton world with players like PV Sindhu, Sameer Verma, Kidambi Srikanth and veteran Saina Nehwal showcasing their dominance in various top events.
However, the form Indian shuttlers have shown in the recent times gives India a really bright chance to lift the trophy at the All England Championships which will be played at the iconic Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham from 7-12 March 2017. Indian badminton legend Prakash Padukone who won the tournament back in 1980 will be the guest of honour at this year's event.
Only two Indians have won the All England tournament, Prakash Padukone in 1980 and Pullela Gopichand in 2001. The three Indian men in the main draw this year are Kidambi Srikanth, Ajay Jayaram, and HS Prannoy, but they all have been handed tough draws.
In this article, we give you a couple of solid reasons telling why India can win the ‘All England’ trophy this year:-
The ‘Supergirl of Indian badminton’, PV Sindhu became the first Indian woman when she clinched the elusive silver medal at the Rio Olympics last year. The Hyderabad-born shuttler continued her good form and won her maiden Super Series title in China beating the local favourite Sun Yu in the finals.
The two-time World Championship bronze medallist started 2017 on a positive note and led her franchise Chennai Smashers to victory in the third edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL). In the All England draw this year, Sindhu will face Denmark's Mette Poulsen in the first round and is likely to meet world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarters. If she beats Tai, Sindhu may face Saina in the semifinals of the All England.
Former World #1 Saina Nehwal is primarily responsible for changing the face of badminton in a cricket-obsessed nation. After making an early exit at the Summer Games last year, Saina struggled with a knee injury in the second half of 2016. The 26-year old made an encouraging comeback to the pro circuit and came to her own at the PBL this year.
But, Saina notched up her first title after the injury at the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold tournament in 2017 with a hard-fought victory over Thai Pornpawee Chochuwong in the finals.
At the All England, Saina Nehwal has a decent chance of winning the title if she can replicate her form at the prestigious tournament. Saina is up against defending champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the first round. The Japanese shuttler is nursing a shoulder injury and had played her last international match in November where she withdrew halfway through the first-round encounter. Keeping this in mind, the Indian shuttler has a great chance to go all the way.