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Saina up for All England with eye on Olympics

Saina up for All England with eye on Olympics

The National Indoor Arena at Birmingham will also host the badminton competition during the London Games.

New Delhi: Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal will look to gather some valuable experience for her London Olympics preparation when she starts her campaign at the All England Championship, which begins with the qualifiers in Birmingham on Monday.

The National Indoor Arena at Birmingham will also host the badminton competition during the London Games, which start from July 27, and Saina will look to get a feel of the conditions.

The 21-year-old reached the semi-finals during the 2010 edition of the championship but her journey was cut short in the quarter-finals last year by Japanese Eriko Hirose, and Saina will look to do better this year.

The draw has also panned out quite favourably as she opens her campaign against a qualifier. The fourth seed Indian is expected to reach at least the quarter-finals of the event.

Seventh-seed Xuerui Li is the only seeded Chinese player in her quarter-final road, but if she wishes to reach the semi-finals, the Indian will have to beat world number two Xin Wang, besides the eighth seed German Juliane Schenk.

In the men's singles, Commonwealth Games bronze medalist P Kashyap will open his campaign against Marc Zwiebler and, with just five months to go for the Olympics, the Indian will look to quickly find his lost touch.

World No. 25 Ajay Jayaram has been quite consistent since last year but he faces the daunting task of getting across the four-time world champion and reigning Olympic champion Dan Lin of China.

World No. 13 Indian pair of V Diju and Jwala Gutta will take on Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh and the duo will have to put behind the disappointment of their first-round exit in the German Open.

Commonwealth Games gold medalist pair of Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa will fight it out against Anneke Feinya Agustin and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari in the women's doubles competition.

Veteran men's doubles pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas will be up against Ingo Kindervater and Johannes Schoettler.

However, before the main draw unfolds, it will be a tough battle for national champions PV Sindhu and Sourabh Verma, and promising shuttler RMV Gurusaidutt in the qualifiers on Tuesday.

Sindhu will be up against Rena Wang, while Sourabh will take on Hsuan Yi Hsueh and Gurusaidutt will meet Vladimir Ivanov.