Saina Nehwal to skip Commonwealth Games and Asiad trials

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A file image of Saina Nehwal.

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Saina Nehwal to skip Commonwealth Games and Asiad trials

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SportsCafe Desk

04/12/2022

Saina Nehwal's prospects of defending her CWG crown appear to be slim since she has opted out of the selection trials for forthcoming multi-sport championship. The CWG in Birmingham and the Asian Games in Hangzhou are two major events and the selection trials will be held in Delhi from April 15.

The 32-year-old shuttler from Hisar has informed the Badminton Association of India (BAI) of her intention to forgo the trials. She is a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist and 2012 London Olympics bronze medalist. "Saina has written to BAI, informing her decision to not play in the trials which will be the only tournament to pick players for CWG, Asiad and Thomas, and Uber Cup," a BAI source told PTI.

The CWG team will have ten members, with an equal number of men and women, while the Asian Games and Thomas & Uber Cup teams will each have twenty members, with ten men and ten women.

The BAI has said that players in the top 15 of the BWF rankings will be chosen directly, while the remainder will be chosen via trials in which shuttlers ranked 16 to 50 in the most recent global rankings, issued on March 29, will compete. During the trials, the national governing body will "finalize probables for the senior core group for the 2024 Olympic Games."

Saina, a previous world number one, has been fighting injuries and poor play for the past few years, and her ranking has dropped to 23rd. Saina had sustained a career-threatening knee injury prior to the Rio Olympics, despite winning gold medals at the 2010 and 2018 CWGs.

She injured her groin at the Thomas & Uber Cup Final in Aarhus, Denmark, in October of last year, and she had to retire from the French Open first-round match owing to a knee injury. Her comeback to the tour at the India Open came to an end in the second round when she was defeated by Malvika Bansod, who is on the rise.

After a few weeks off, she competed in three tournaments last month: the German Open, the All England Open, and the Swiss Open, but she didn't make it past the second round in any of them. Saina's recent successes include a semifinal appearance at the 2021 Orleans Masters Super 100 and quarterfinal appearances at the Barcelona Spain Masters Super 300 and Malaysia Masters in 2020.

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