New Delhi: A year ago Arvind Bhat had turned back the clock to win the German Open and the senior Indian shuttler will hope to produce another age-defying exploit when he look to defend his title in the Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament at Mulheim an der Ruhr, starting tomorrow. The 35-year-old shuttler from Bangalore was supposed to take on Rajiv Ouseph but since the England player withdrew from the tournament, the Indian will come to know about his first round opponent only at the manager’s meet tonight.
Arvind will face tough competition from the likes of second seeded Korean Son Wan Ho, who is drawn in his half. “I love to be in Germany again as I have played so much of my badminton here. My game is okay, not too bad. But I have no real expectations. Preparations have been okay. So let’s see,” said the two-time national champion.
Arvind, who has won seven International titles including the Scottish Open 2004 and the Czech International 2007, played at the Syed Modi International Championship in Lucknow last. He lost to Wei Feng Chong in the third round. Among other Indians, Ajay Jayaram, who won the Dutch Open last year, will face a tough opposition in Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana in his tournament opener.
In women’s doubles, 2010 Commonwealth Games champions, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will take on Indonesian pair of Suci Rizky Andini and Maretha Dea Giovani in the first round.