Saina Nehwal would look to boost her confidence ahead of the London Olympics when she starts as the top seed at the Thailand Grand Prix Gold beginning with the qualifiers in Bangkok on Tuesday. The Olympic-bound shuttler, ranked fifth in the world, will start her campaign against local player Nichaon Jindapon in the women's singles on Wednesday.
With the top four Chinese players missing in action, it will be a good opportunity for the Indian ace to register a win and boost confidence after suffering a shock exit at home in the India Open Super Series in April. Local stars Ratchanok Inthanon and Porntip Buranaprasertsuk have been handed the second and third seeds respectively while rising Indian shuttler PV Sindhu is seeded fourth in the tournament.
Sindhu, who reached the quarterfinals of the India Open in April, will start her campaign against Anu Nieminen of Finland. Beside Saina, four other Indians - P Kashyap, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and V Diju had also qualified for the Olympics but they would skip the Thai Open and play the next two events in Indonesia and Singapore. In the men's singles, 12th seed Indian Sourabh Verma will take on Indonesian Sukamta Evert, B Sai Praneeth will face off Wisnu Yuli Prasetyo of Indonesia while Anand Pawar will meet France's Brice Leverdez, seeded ninth.
RMV Gurusaidutt, seeded 14th, will start his campaign against Malaysian Goh Soon Huat, while Sameer Verma will take on 11th seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand and K Srikanth wil meet Zulfadli Zulkiffli. Among other Indians, men's doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu and young combo of S Sanjeeth and Jagadish Yadav will also play in the tournament.
In women's doubles, India's Aparna Balan and N Siki Reddy and young pair of Pradnya Gadre and Prajakta Sawant will look to show their mettle at the event. Arun and Aparna will also pair up for India in the mixed doubles competition.