Women's doubles combination of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had ended India's 28-year-old medal drought at the World Championship by winning the bronze medal in 2011. Though they would not be seen in action in China, all eyes will be trained on world number three Saina to record her maiden podium finish in the tournament.
     
"Though Saina is obviously our best bet at the World Championship, this will be the first time that India would have two representatives in each of the five categories at the world championship and that is proof of how well our players are performing at the international circuit," Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Akhilesh Das Gupta said in a statement.
     
At the World Championship, there are no qualification rounds and only shuttlers inside the top 50 world rankings are eligible to participate and Das Gupta said the largest-ever contingent is a proof that India is fast becoming a superpower in the game.
     
"The members of the Indian squad are training hard for the championship and I have no doubt that all of them will make the country proud with their performance," the BAI president added.
     
According to the tournament rules, any player reaching the semi-final is assured of a bronze medal.
     
India's best medal hopes – Saina and Malaysian GP gold medallist P V Sindhu – would open their campaign with a bye and have received a decent draw in the women's singles event.
     
As per the draw, Saina will face her first real challenge in the competition only at the quarterfinal stage where she is likely to meet either eighth seed Minatsu Mitani of Japan or 13th seed Bae Yeon Ju of Korea.

(Agencies)

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