Manila, Feb 11 (IANS) India took one step forward in their quest to reach the quarter final of the Asia Team Badminton championships with a 4-1 win over Kazakhstan. Former world number one Kidambi Srikanth and young guns Lakshya Sen and Shubhankar Dey won their respective singles matches while M.R. Arjun and Dhruv Kapila won their doubles fixture.
Men’s singles World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth, who was not fielded in the singles matches, teamed up with Chirag Shetty and lost their tie to Kazakh pair Artur Niyazov and Khaitmurat Kulmatov in three games.
Srikanth beat Dmitriy Panarin 21-10, 21-7 in a match that lasted just 23 minutes. Lakshya beat Niyazov 21-13, 21-8 in 21 minutes while Shubhankar beat Kulmatov 21-11, 21-5 in 26 minutes.
Arjun and Kapila beat Nikita Bragin and Kulmatov 21-14, 21-8.
India are placed in Group B with Malaysia and Kazakhstan after their initial group, which consisted of defending champions Indonesia and hosts Philippines, was reshuffled due to the withdrawals of China and Hong Kong after the coronavirus outbreak.
While a full strength Indian men’s team is taking part in Manila, the second-string women’s team devoid of stars like PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal was withdrawn by the Badminton Association of India due to fears related to the coronavirus outbreak.