India has been drawn with top seeds and defending champions China, Thailand and hosts Finland for the upcoming Sudirman Cup badminton tournament, making it a tough Group A for the side to negotiate.
The prestigious World Mixed team championship is scheduled to be held in Vantaa, Finland from September 26 to October 3.
India and Finland have been seeded in the 9 to 16 bracket, while Thailand is placed in the 5-8 bracket in the 16-nation event. The Chinese team, which has won the title 11 times in the past, will have the opportunity to consolidate its position as it seeks a 12th title.
The draw, held in Kuala Lumpur and broadcast online, saw second seeds Japan drawn with Malaysia, England and Egypt in Group D.
Japan was runner-up in 2019 and is seeking their first Sudirman Cup title.
Indonesia, winner of the Sudirman Cup in its inaugural year 1989, are in Group C with Denmark, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Canada, while Group B consists of Chinese Taipei, Korea, Tahiti and Germany.
Four-time winner Korea is the second most successful team at the World Mixed Team Championships. The top two teams from each group progress to the knockout round (quarterfinals). The quarterfinals draw will be held immediately after the last group match.
Each tie comprises five matches — men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
The Badminton Association of India will pick the team for the Sudirman Cup and Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in a selection trial on August 28.
A total of 105 players, including Lakshya Sen, HS Prannoy, Verma brothers — Sameer and Sourabh, Parupalli Kashyap, Ashwini Ponnappa, N Sikki Reddy, Ashmita Chaliha, Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap and Gayatri Gopichand have been called for the trials.
Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu, 2012 London Games bronze winner Saina Newhal, Tokyo Olympian B Sai Praneeth, 2016 Rio Olympics quarterfinalist Kidambi Srikanth and world No. 10 Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have been selected directly for the two events.