Toyko Olympics 2020: PV Sindhu hopes for gold medal for the whole country, will play her first match on Sunday

Sports Desk: Defending world champion PV Sindhu, who won a silver medal in her Olympic debut five years ago, will lead India's gold-medal campaign in the badminton event that begins here on Saturday. 

Toyko Olympics 2020: PV Sindhu hopes for gold medal for the whole country, will play her first match on Sunday

Sindhu performed brilliantly in Rio but she lost in the final in a tough match. This Indian will be desperate to get the gold medal this time. 

She begins her campaign in Group J, which includes Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi (ranked 34th) and Israel's Ksenia Polikarpova (ranked 58th). 

Sindhu will play her opening match on Sunday while compatriot B Sai Praneeth and the men's pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will begin their campaign on Saturday.

Sindhu was expected to make a comeback ahead of the Rio Olympics but was not considered a medal contender. 

But this time she is one of the top contenders for the gold medal, especially in the absence of defending champion Carolina Marin, who will miss out due to an injury. 

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Sindhu has won medals in every major tournament since Rio, including silver medals at the Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2018, a gold and a silver at the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals. 

Apart from this, she became the world champion in 2019, while in the previous stages she had also reached the finals thrice.

After the Olympics was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sindhu trained in London in 2020 and then returned home to practice with new overseas coach Park Tae Sang who has worked hard on her defense over the past few months. 

Talking about the draw, the world number six badminton player said, "It is a good draw in the group stage. But this is the Olympics and it won't be easy, every point will matter. He said, "Everyone is in top form, I hope I do well. 

Every match is important so I will focus on one match at a time. Sindhu is expected to take on Mia Blichfelt in the pre-quarterfinals and world number five Akane Yamaguchi in the quarters.

In men's singles, Praneeth would like to make his dream Olympic debut, who will start his campaign against Israel's Misha Zilberman. 

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To top Group D, the 13th seeded Indian will have to beat Mark Kalzou of the Netherlands and then take on the winner of Group C. 

In men's doubles, Chirag and Satwik face a tough draw, who will take on third-ranked pair of Ligue Yang and Wang Chi Lin of Chinese Taipei on Saturday. 

They will face top seeded Indonesia pair and 18th ranked England pair in the group stage. In doubles, the top two teams in the group will advance to the quarter-finals.  

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