India’s top pair eye cherry on cake inworld meet

Golden moment: Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy celebrate after winning the doubles title at the Commonwealth Games. — AP

PETALING JAYA: India’s top men’s doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty are dreaming of crowning a great year by becoming world champions.

Satwiksairaj-Chirag are on a high after becoming the first men’s doubles pair from their country to win the individual gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Now, they are out to create further history by going all the way in the World Championships which will be held in Tokyo from Aug 21-28.

“We want to go deep into the tournament. Not think too much about it and reach the final,” Satwiksairaj told InsideSport.

“Our body is in great shape now. This is the biggest tournament of the year and we want to do well in Japan. We will give our 200% for the competition.”

Winning the world title will cap a great year which took off with India’s memorable Thomas Cup triumph in May.

Throughout the prestigious team event in Bangkok, the duo had been on fire and will be looking to produce the same formidable form in Tokyo.

Satwiksairaj, who turned 22 on Saturday, acknowledged that he and Chirag still have room for improvement as they seek to go toe to toe with the world’s best pairs.

“We are in the right direction, especially since Mathias Boe (former Denmark’s doubles player) came in as coach. We have lost a few matches but we have a feeling that we are doing the right thing.

“It can take time to be on the winning side. We are trying to mix our game, it’s not the same as before. We are trying new things.

“That rhythm is building slowly and we want to develop to become top players. During the Commonwealth Games, we had plenty of pressure but we did well,” added Satwiksairaj.

The partnership have a challenging pathway in the World Championships and could face Japan’s defending champions and world No. 2 Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi in the quarter-finals.

Despite the tough task ahead, they are India’s best bets for glory besides men’s singles ace and fellow Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lakshya Sen (world No. 10).

The trio will be out to make up for the absence of women’s singles star and 2019 champion P.V. Sindhu, who pulled out after suffering from a stress fracture on her left foot.

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