Olympics-Badminton-Indonesia's Gideon and Sukamuljo lead 'group of death'

FILE PHOTO: 2019 Badminton World Championships - St. Jakobshalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland - August 21, 2019 Indonesia's Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon during their second round men's doubles match against South Korea's Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

TOKYO, Japan - Four key men's doubles teams - dubbed by the Badminton World Federation as "the group of death" - will take over two courts side-by-side on Saturday just after noon in Tokyo, in matches that already have the badminton world a-buzz.

What is formally known as Group A pits teams from Indonesia, Taiwan, India and Britain against one another - the former three are ranked top-10.

World leaders Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo from Indonesia will play Britain's Ben Lane and Sean Vendy; Taiwan's Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin are meanwhile set to challenge Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty from India.

Despite being ranked 10 by the BWF, the pair from India have beaten most of the teams ahead of them, and have been in the semifinals of two of their last three events.

Ahead of the Games, Shetty and Rankireddy in January roped in Denmark's former Olympic silver medallist Mathias Boe as their new coach.

But Lee and Wang are ranked seven places ahead of the Indian duo and will be tough to beat.

The Indonesian team - fondly known at home as The Minions due to their diminutive stature - won the All England Open men's doubles titles in 2017 and 2018, and are nearly 20,000 points ahead of the Taiwanese pair despite having played 11 fewer tournaments.

At a clear disadvantage, Britons Vendy and Lane are at no. 18 in the rankings. But they will not be taken lightly, having made it to the semi-finals of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020.

In modern badminton, Asian athletes typically dominate and have won 92 of the 106 Olympic Games medals available from 1992-2016.

(Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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