The All England Badminton Championships will be played from 11 to 15 March this year. It is considered to be the oldest and prestigious tournament of badminton. It was started in 1899 by some officers of the British Army. The credit of the introduction of badminton in India also goes to the British Army. Till now only two Indians, Prakash Padukone, won the championship in 1980 and head national coach Pullela Gopichand was the last Indian to win the All England Badminton Championship in 2001.
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The USD 1,100,000 BWF World Tour event gives the winner 12,000 ranking points, and with Olympic qualification on the line, most of the top players will appear in action at Arena Birmingham.
Indian shuttlers will continue to pursue glory in the All England Championships starting from today, with reigning world champion PV Sindhu at the helm of the campaign, who is almost certain of an Olympic berth, will seek to end with a nearly two-decade-old title jinx into the All England Championship by adding the coveted title to her gold at the 2019 World Championships.
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Sindhu will seek to nullify a streak of recent poor results and emulate her mentor with the top medal. World No. 6 Sindhu, who had reached the semifinal in 2018, will have to cut down on unforced errors and strengthen her defense when she opens against Beiwen Zhang of the USA. The 24-year-old is expected to face Korea's Sung Ji Hyun if she crosses the initial hurdle.
Former silver medalist Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will be looking for valuable points to get into the top 16 before the Olympic qualification deadline ends on April 28. Saina, who reached the final of the All England Championship in 2015, urgently needs some ranking points to qualify for the Olympics and will face a stiff test against third-seeded Japanese Akane Yamaguchi in the opening match.
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Former world No. 1 Srikanth Kidambi, who had reached the quarters in 2019, will have to beat Olympic champion and third seed Chen Long to retaining his ranking points.
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The former champion of the Commonwealth Games, Parupalli Kashyap, who is returned after recovering from a back injury at the Spain Masters last month, will face Indonesian Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in the first match.
World championship bronze medalist B Sai Praneeth, who is also almost certain of a place in Tokyo Olympics, will open against Chinese Zhao Jun Peng.
The young shuttler Lakshya Sen, who had claimed five titles last year, will make his debut in the prestigious tournament and will start against Lee Cheuk Yiu from Hong Kong.
In addition, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will take on Setyana Mapasa and Gronya Somerville of Australia in the women's doubles, while N Sikki Reddy will face top-seeded Chinese Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong in pairing with Pranaav Jerry Chopra.
All England Badminton Championship won by 2 Indians
Prakash Padukone (men’s singles): 1980
Pullela Gopichand (men’s singles): 2001
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3 Indians runner-up in the championship
Prakash Nath (men’s singles): 1947
Prakash Padukone (men’s singles): 1981
Saina Nehwal (women’s singles): 2015
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