Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth's Olympic hopes all but over after Singapore Open cancelled

Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are unlikely to make it to the Tokyo Olympics due to the cancellation of the Singapore Open.

Saina Nehwal would have been one of the medal contenders in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. (Image credit: Twitter)

Indian badminton stars Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are unlikely to make it to the Tokyo Olympics. This is because of the cancellation of the Singapore Open. The tournament organisers Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) and Badminton World Federation (BWF) jointly agreed to cancel the tournament scheduled for June 1-6. The Singapore Open was the last tournament offering Race To Tokyo ranking points within the Olympic qualifying window. However, the cancellation of the Super 500 event on the BWF World Tour has affected quite a few shuttlers.

“In the interests of all players, tournament personnel and the local community’s health and safety, the event has been cancelled. BWF can confirm the tournament will not be rescheduled,” the BWF said.

“All attempts were made by the organisers and BWF to provide a safe tournament environment for all participants. However, rising Covid-19 cases globally led to complex challenges in managing inbound travel.”

It added that it would issue a further statement on Olympic games qualifying at a later date.

Big blow for Saina Nehwal

The chances of London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina and Srikanth qualifying for the Olympics hinged on the Singapore Open. This is because the Malaysian Open (May 25 to 30) was postponed on May 7.

With the Malaysian Open now out of the question, Badminton Association of India (BAI) sought clarity on the qualification scenario from the world body.

Singapore suspended all flights from India due to the second Covid-19 wave affecting the country. Therefore, it was always going to be a difficult task for the Indian players to travel there for the last qualifier.

Indian shuttlers set to be in Tokyo for the Olympics this year include PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth and the men’s doubles pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.

Singapore’s infection numbers are very low in comparison to other parts of the world. However, upon discovering new clusters of the virus, spectators at sporting events are banned and travel curbs are in place.

Sportslumo Desk

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