Defending champion India will have an easy entry into the knockout stage of the badminton event of the Commonwealth Games as it has been drawn against Australia, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan in Group 1 of the mixed team competition.
The badminton competition at the quadrennial event, which will be held in Birmingham from July 29 to August 8, consists of the mixed team event followed by the individual event.
The final of the mixed team event will be held on August 2.
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A total of 16 teams will be competing in the mixed event, and they have been drawn into four groups, with the top two nations progressing to the knockout stage.
The draw was conducted in Birmingham in March. But Nigeria withdrew in early May, with Zambia now confirming its replacement.
Five-time champion Malaysia, which was beaten by India in the final of the last edition in Gold Coast, is in Group 4 with South Africa, Jamaica, and Zambia.
England, winner of the first eight editions of the team event, starting from 1966, is in Group 2 with Singapore, Mauritius, and Barbados, while Group 3 features Pan Am powerhouses Canada, alongside Scotland, Maldives, and Uganda.
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Each tie in the team event consists of best-of-five matches with men’s and women’s singles and three doubles — men’s, women’s and mixed, which will test the overall strength of the team.
“The Commonwealth Games have a unique feel. While it features some of badminton’s traditional powers, there are also teams with a more recent badminton tradition, and thus there is a wonderful diversity of styles and approaches to the competition,” said BWF president Poul-Erik Høyer.
“I wish all the teams competing the best of luck,” he added.