According to the updated BWF ranking (as on 17/3/2020), 8 Indian men’s singles shuttlers fall under the top 50 of the list. Earlier, the BWF froze the rankings as a fair solution to the Tokyo Olympic Qualification due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Namely, Sai Praneeth (13), Srikanth Kidambi (14), Parupalli Kashyap (24), Lakshya Sen (27), H S Prannoy (28), Sourabh Verma (30), Sameer Verma (31), and Subhankar Dey (46) fall under the category. These rankings differ from the Race to Tokyo Olympic qualification ranking list.


Sai Praneeth is currently the highest-ranked Indian shuttler and according to his ranking, he has already booked a ticket to Tokyo. In his 2019 season, his best performance was in reaching the finals of Swiss Open, the semi-final of the World Championship and Japan Open. In doing so, he became the first Indian to win a bronze at the World Championship in 36 years. With such performances, he reached his personal best rank of 10 in the World in 2019. However, first-round exits in the early tournaments of 2020 got him down to World no. 13 with 53817 points.


The former World no. 1, Srikanth Kidambi’s form has gone from bad to worse this year. He featured in 16 different tournaments this season, with his best performance in reaching the finals India Open, and semi-final of Hong Kong Open.  In 2020, he did not pass the early stages in any of the 5 tournaments that he played. These performances have declined his ranking to no. 14 with 51199 points.


18 years old, Lakshya Sen has been in tremendous form this season, winning five Championship titles (Belgian International, Dutch Open, SaarLorLux Open, Scottish Open, and Bangladesh International Challenge) which led to a steep rise in his ranking from 108 to 32.


The only titles that Indian men’s singles players bagged in 2019 were two World Tour Super 100 category events by Sourabh Verma, and five crowns in a short span of three months towards the end of the year by teenager Lakshya Sen although they were small category tournaments.


It was a memorable year for veteran Parupalli Kashyap, the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, who ended runner-up to China’s Li Shifeng in the Canada Open Super 100, and was a losing semi-finalist at the India and Korea Opens. After struggling through the previous two seasons, Kashyap seemed to have gained fresh wind in the wake of his marriage to Saina Nehwal, and worked his way back into the top 25, collecting 43,190 points ranking 24 in the World.


It was sad to see the noticeable dip in the form of Prannoy and Sameer Verma. Prannoy started the year well, helping India to the title of the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship. However, his singles performances were on the decline. The best he could achieve in the 2019 season was reaching the quarterfinals in India, New Zealand, and the US Opens. His current ranking stands 28 with 41135 points.


The semi-finalist at the 2018 World Tour Grand Finals, Sameer Verma had reached his career-high 12th rank in the same year. However, in his 2019 season, the 25-year-old was able to make it to a solitary quarter-final- at the Singapore Open and suffered 10 first-round exits in the 19 tournaments that he played. His current ranking has declined to 31 in the World with 39079 points.


Sameer’s elder brother, Sourabh Verma had a relatively better year this season, reaching the finals of Vietnam Open, Syed Modi Championship, Hyderabad Open, and won the Slovenia International. He looks to be in good form and is expected to climb the ranking ladder in the future. His current World rank is 28 with 39579 points.


26 years old, Subhankar Dey reached the finals of Italian International, semi-finals of Mongolia International and Denmark Challenge in the 2019 season. His current ranking stands 48 with 30915 points.


Though there has been a decline in the International performances of the prominent men’s singles shuttlers, it is still good to see that the country has a good number of men’s singles players to look up to.

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