New Delhi: In a jolt to Indian hopes of a doubles medal at the Rio Olympics, Mathias Boe — Danish badminton player who is one of the world's leading shuttlers in the men's pairs event — has opined that India's premier women's combine of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will find it extremely difficult to pull off the vaunted feat.
Danish shuttler Mathias Boe
Though chances of a medal win are high from the Saina Nehwal-led singles contingent, 2011 World Championship bronze medallists Jwala-Ashwini remain the only realistic hope for India in the women's doubles.
Asked if he sees India clinching a badminton Olympic medal in doubles, the current World No 4 Dane replied: "No! In women's doubles there are way too many pairs who are better than Jwala-Ashwini. They are just below the 8-9 best pairs in the world but can definitely beat them once in a while. For them to reach the semi-finals, they need to beat two top pairs... and that is something really difficult."
There are no Indian pairs in the top-25 of mixed doubles in the world. Commonwealth Games 2010 champions Jwala and Ashwini are the only Indians in women's top-25 at No 14.