The suspension of the Malaysia Open is a huge blow for shuttlers like Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, who were aiming to qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the same. With just one qualifying event left, the BAI enquired the BWF regarding the qualification scenario for the remaining slots.
Following the postponement of the upcoming Malaysia Open, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has reached out to the world body, Badminton World Federation (BWF) asking for clarity on the qualification scenario for its shuttlers and future course of action.
The Super 750 event, which was scheduled from May 25-30 and also considered as an Olympic qualification tournament, was postponed on Friday. With four of its players, PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, having already sealed places for Tokyo, BAI has expecting few more players to qualify including Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth.
“It’s really unfortunate that the crucial qualifier had to be postponed in this way but that is the time we live in now. Though four of our players have already qualified and there are few more including Saina and Srikanth who can still make it. I have reached out to BWF Secretary Thomas Lund asking for clarity on the future course of action,” BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania said.
With the postponement of Malaysia Open, the qualification hopes of the remaining Indian players now depends on the final qualifying event--Singapore Open (June 1-6). Singapore has suspended flights from India due to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases. However, BAI is in touch with the Singapore Badminton Association and is trying to find a best possible way regarding the mandatory 21-day quarantine rule.
“We will do whatever best possible can be done to find a better way out so that the shuttlers get the chance to secure the Olympic berths if there’s scope and opportunity,” Singhania added.