Chirag-Satwik eye World C’ship medal

Abha Gupta. Dated: 8/12/2019 4:35:24 PM

Buoyed by a maiden Super 500 title win at Thailand Open, India’s new doubles sensation Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are eyeing a medal at next week’s World Championship.

The Indian duo became the first men’s doubles pair from the country to win a BWF Super 500 title last Sunday, helping them break into the top 10 ranking.

Chirag and Satwik emerged victorious from a draw that saw the participation of nine of the top-10 world ranked pairs.

The Indian pair defeated reigning Asian Games Silver medallists Fazar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto in the second round, before beating former world champions Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol in the semifinals.

Chirag and Satwik came up trumps against reigning world champions Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen in the summit clash at Bangkok.

Chirag said their performance in the Thai capital gave them the confidence to win a medal at the World Championship.

“World Championship is next week and we have done well in the run up to the event. Most of the top players participated at Thailand and beating them gave us a big boost. We know we won’t enter as favourites but it does raise hopes of winning a medal now,” Chirag said.

“We have the potential to be a World champion. The level of Thailand Open was high. It could have been easily a world championship, so I think we do stand a chance to win a medal,” he added.

Their historic run helped Chirag and Satwik jump seven places and grab the ninth spot in the men’s doubles rankings issued last Tuesday.

Chirag said they would look to maintain their top 10 ranking by year end to ensure a Tokyo Olympic qualification.

“Next six months, the aim will be to maintain the top 10 ranking. It will be lot more difficult because all the ranking points that we have scored were from playing in tournaments from September to December last year,” said the 22-year-old from Mumbai.

“So the major goal will be to play quarters and semifinals and also look to win another title, that will give us a chance to enter top 5 early next year.

“If we are in top 10 by this year end, then we will remain in the top 10 before Tokyo Olympic qualification as we don’t have to defend any ranking points early next year because we didn’t play from January to April this year,” he said.


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