Indian Quartet Face An Uphill Qualification Battle with Cancelled Tournaments

By: Editor
Date: 09 May, 2021
Image Courtesy: GoBadminton

The hopes and aspirations of an Olympic berth for some of India’s top shuttlers remains in the balance as a slew of tournament cancellations makes it increasingly difficult for them to shore up enough qualification points before the close of the qualification window in June 2021.


The close of the Olympics qualifications is now less than a month away and there’s only one possible tournament left for the likes of Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal to book their places for Tokyo 2021. Per the revised qualification calendar the Singapore Open from June 1 to 6, is the final qualification event before the rankings are tabulated on June 15th to draw up the list of players to be competing at the marquee quadrennial competition.


Badminton tournaments had just begun to start in earnest following the nine-month long corona virus break, but in a bit of a déjà vu from 2020, the All England in Birmingham, England was the last of the major tournaments before a slew of tournaments had to be either cancelled or postponed – of course, the All England wasn’t part of the qualification, one must note.


Given the difficult path to progress, top Indian shuttlers took part in the relatively low-key New Orleans Open in France, before they hoped for the Indian, Malaysian and Singapore Open tournaments as well as the Badminton Asia Championships to provide them with enough points to book their flight for the Olympics. These hopes, however, have been firmly dashed with a surge in corona virus cases in India, and in South East Asia have led to the cancellation and/or postponement of the India Open, Badminton Asia Championships, and the Malaysia Open. The Singapore Open, itself remains doubtful per some reports but the final call is yet to be made.


In addition to the cancellations, restrictions on travel and stringent requirements of quarantine further add to the conundrum facing the Indian players. 


The Badminton Association of India, which has remained extremely supportive of the players during these uncertain and difficult times has reached out to the Badminton World Federation to clarify how the cancellations will be factored in the final scheme of things.


Calling the postponements unfortunate but reflective of the times we live in, Badminton Association of India General Secretary Ajay Singhania said that he remains in touch with the world body with regard to the travel and quarantine restrictions for Indian nationals to Singapore. Currently, Indian nationals travelling to Singapore require a 21-day quarantine with no direct flights available to travel between the two countries.


Currently, Rio Silver Medallist PV Sindhu and men’s singles player B Sai Praneeth are the only certainties for the singles events in Tokyo, whilst the men’s doubles team of Satwik Sai Raj & Chirag Shetty will feature in the doubles. Those hoping to have made the cut but now face an uphill battle include the likes of Srikanth Kidambi, and Saina Nehwal, alongside the women’s doubles duo of Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa.

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