New Delhi: Saina NehwalThe chances of defending her title at the Commonwealth Games look bleak as she has decided to skip the selection tests for the upcoming multi-sport events.
She said she doesn’t want to strain her body by taking part in the trials as she has just returned from tournaments in Europe and another big event is coming up. She also questioned the logic of having trials at this point.
Major events include the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The selection tests are scheduled here from 15 to 20 April.
Saina, 32, a two-time CWG gold medalist and bronze medalist of the 2012 London Olympics, has informed the Badminton Association of India (BAI) of her decision to skip the trials.
Saina said she emailed BAI in early April saying she had skipped the trials, but there was no communication from the association.
“I wrote them right after I heard about the trials. I didn’t want my body to go through another tournament at a time when I just got back from the European stage and only have a little over a week left before the Asian Championships,” Saina told PTI.
“It’s a little disturbing, but it’s okay. I will continue to fight for the Olympics, in the other events and I have no problem with anyone else being considered deserving and good enough to win a medal at Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.”
The CWG squad will consist of 10 members with an equal number of men and women, while the Asian Games and Thomas & Uber Cup contingents will each have 20 members, including 10 men and 10 women.
The BAI has made it clear that players in the top 15 in the BWF ranking will be chosen directly, while the rest will be chosen from the trials that will lead to the participation of shuttlers between 16 and 50 in the latest world ranking, to be released in March . 29.
The national governing body will also “finalize the probabilities for the senior core group for the 2024 Olympics” during the trials.
Saina said players deserved more time to prepare for the trials.
“I honestly don’t understand the logic of having trials right now. Why so many trials all of a sudden. It’s not easy to perform, without experience at such a high level. Then why do you need a world ranking?
“The international circuit is full of so many tournaments anyway and on top of that, such tests put unnecessary pressure. And they could have planned it better, let’s say a good 4-5 months, just two weeks back to inquire about it isn’t fair to anyone.”
Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap, Ashmita Chaliha and Anupama Upadhyaya are in great shape but none of them have beaten the top international stars on the world stage.
Injuries and recent form
Former world number one, Saina has struggled with a string of injuries and poor form in recent years, which has pushed her ranking to 23rd.
Saina, who had won gold medals at the 2010 and 2018 CWG, had suffered a serious knee injury prior to the Rio Olympics.
Last year, she injured her groin during the Thomas & Uber Cup final in Aarhus, Denmark in October, and was also forced to withdraw midway through the first round of the French Open due to a knee injury.
Her return to the track at the India Open ended in the second round when she lost to fast-rising Malvika Bansod. After a break of several weeks, she played three events last month – German Open, All England and Swiss Open – but failed to make it through to the second round.
However, there were glimpses of her former self as she played a three-game match against Akane Yamaguchi at the All England Open this year.
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