HYDERABAD: Indian shuttlers will kick off their new season with the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold in Penang on Tuesday, the first international event in 2016.
After not so impressive show in 2015, Indians will be keen to start on a strong note in the all important Olympic year.
From now on every victory will be very important as it will fetch the ranking points, crucial in deciding the Olympic qualifications, P.V. Sindhu, who is seeded third, and second seed Kidambi Srikanth will lead the Indian challenge in Malaysia.
Sindhu, will begin against Sabrine Jacquet of Switzerland. Sindhu may face her first real challenge in the semifinals where she is likely to meet top seed Ji Hyun Sung of Korea. The 20-year-old, who had an unbeaten run in the Premier Badminton League (PBL), is the favourite to win the title in Malaysia. Sung and Akane Yamaguchi are the only players who may stop Sindhu.
Srikanth is still in the process of getting back to his best. The World No.9 showed signs of striking form when he stunned former World No.1 Lee Chong Wei in PBL. The other Indians in fray are Ajay Jayaram, Sameer Verma, Sai Praneeth and qualifier Subhankar Dey.