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Saeed Hareb, Jassim Kenso, Vice-President, IBF, Noura Al Jasmi, President, Emirates Badminton Federation, Moosa Nashed, Secretary General, Asian Badminton Federation, PV Sindhu, Dr Sathya Menon with other officials during the unveiling of the Asian Badminton Mixed Team Championship trophy at Dubai Sports Council on Tuesday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Indian ace PV Sindhu is pleased and at the same time guarded after getting a favourable draw in the Asian Badminton Mixed Team Championship, to be held at Dubai Expo City from February 14-19.

“Firstly, it was really nice to be here in Dubai. It’s always nice to play in Dubai because I’ve played back to back almost for three years earlier and I am coming back here. So really looking forward to the Asian Team Championships. The draw is pretty good. We have Malaysia, UAE and Kazakhstan. But we shouldn’t take it easy. So each match is going to be hard, but I feel comparatively we can do our best,” the two-time Olympic medallist told Gulf News in an exclusive chat.

A total of 17 teams are taking part in the Asia Badminton Mixed Team Championships, held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Honorary President of the Emirates Badminton Federation, with the support of the Dubai Sports Council and organised by Beyond Boundaries.

Strong countries

“We are proud to cooperate with the Asian Badminton Federation and the Emirates Badminton Federation to host this great continental event in which 17 Asian countries, including the world’s strongest countries, participate in this Olympic sport.

“This championship comes as an extension of the world badminton championships that Dubai was a pioneer in hosting, where four World Championships finals were held in the Hamdan Sports Complex. Badminton enjoys great interest in the UAE in general, and in Dubai in particular, as it is an Olympic sport. Danish Viktor Axelsen, who trained in Dubai, managed to win the gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We hope this championship will inspire a number of young men and women in the country to practice and develop in the game,” said Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council.

Defending champions China and runners-up in 2019 edition Japan have been given the top two seeds while Malaysia and Indonesia have been the other two to get their rightful places in the groupings.

“We are proud to have the first Badminton Asia major even in the West Asia region. Having the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship 2023 held in Dubai will generate new excitements within our participating members, especially from the GCC,” said Badminton Asia President Anton Subowo in a press release.

Hosts UAE, who are in Group B, will be looking to make a mark with their young and energetic team. The event also give players the opportunity to qualify for the World Championships like Sudirman Cup, Thomas and Uber Cups and other major tournaments.

“The Dubai edition of Badminton Asia Championships will open a new chapter that will see growth in fan-base and the sport’s popularity in the region,” said Dr Sathya Menon, CEO Beyond Boundaries, who have won the rights to host the event for the next five years.

The groups:

Group A: China, Korea, Singapore and Uzbekistan.

Group B: Malaysia, India, Kazakhstan and UAE.

Group C: Indonesia, Thailand, Bahrain, Syria and Lebanon.

Group D: Japan, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Pakistan.