Saina Nehwal's Tokyo Olympics qualification has taken a big hit due to the postponement of the Malaysia Open tournament due to the coronavirus.
Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth’s hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics took a big hit on Friday. The Malaysia Open Super 750 tournament was postponed due to the Covid-19 surge in the country. The Malaysia Open was one of the last two Olympic qualifying events after the Indian Open
The decision is a huge setback for Indian shuttler’s hopes to make the cut for Tokyo Olympics. Saina and Srikanth’s qualification for the Tokyo Games hinged on the Kuala Lumpur tournament. They can try to make it to the Singapore Open which begins on June 1. However, it will be difficult for the two to travel to Singapore. The country has suspended all flights from India.
Badminton Association of India (BAI) has reached out to Badminton World Federation (BWF) for clarity on the qualification scenario. The BWF also confirmed the Malaysia Open will not be played in the Olympics qualification window.
BWF had laid out the guidelines for entering Singapore. For any Indian to enter Singapore, they have to either be in quarantine in a foreign country other than India for 14 days. After that, they will be allowed to enter the country.
Indian shuttlers who have already made the cut for the Olympics include PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth and the doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. Besides the quartet, Srikanth, Saina and the women’s doubles pair of N. Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa were supposed to participate in the two Olympic qualifiers.
There is doubt over whether the Tokyo Olympics itself will take place. Japan is battling the fourth wave of coronavirus infections, with daily cases crossing 6000. In a recent survey, 60 percent of the population wanted the games to be canceled.