Badminton: Olympics champions Yufei, Axelsen lead star-studded field at India Open 2023

Reigning Olympics and world champions including Chen Yufei of China, Akane Yamaguchi of Japan and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen will spearhead a galaxy of stars at the India Open badminton tournament, to be held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here from January 17-22, 2023.

The tournament will be welcoming spectators in the upcoming edition after being conducted behind closed doors in 2022, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) informed here on Friday.

Challenging these foreign stars for the coveted title will be two-time Olympics medallist P.V. Sindhu, defending men’s singles champion Lakshya Sen and former World No.1 Kidambi Srikanth along with the world No.7 men’s doubles pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who clinched the title last time.

Sindhu will be appearing in her first tournament after suffering an injury in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in August 2022. She had the entire final quarter of the circuit including the World Tour Finals in Bangkok.

The prestigious tournament, which will be played at the K.D. Jadhav Indoor Hall, has been upgraded to BWF World Tour Super 750 category in the new tournament cycle from the previous Super 500 and is a part of the Asian circuit that will kick-start the new season of international badminton.

“We are thrilled to have such responses and big names fighting for the titles in the upcoming edition. Unfortunately, fans couldn’t watch the players live in action due to the pandemic but now it will be a treat for them to come and witness their favourite stars live. The upgraded Super 750 status also makes this event grandeur in every possible way and we look forward to a mega week full of exciting badminton action,” BAI Secretary General Sanjay Mishra was quoted as saying in a release on Friday.

The tournament has attracted entries of top players from 32 countries with the likes of China’s Shi Yuqi, Japan’s Kento Momota, Denmark’s Anders Antonsen and Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia in the men’s singles and former world champions Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, Ratchnok Intanon of Thailand and the up and coming to An Se-Young of South Korea aiming to kick off the season on a winning note.

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