World number two Saina Nehwal and two-time World Championship medallist PV Sindhu are unwilling to play at the upcoming South Asian Games (SAG) in Guwahati, so their preparation for Rio’16 doesn’t take a hit. Qualification for the Olympics depends on world rankings in May and participation in international events is key to bag the required points.
The Thailand Masters GPG clashes with the South Asian Games and Saina Nehwal has also sent her entry for what would be her first international event this year. But the BAI is insisting that the players do not withdraw from the SAG, which will see 8 nations from the SAARC region participate. The competition, which would include Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives apart from the host country, would barely help India’s top shuttlers hone their skills either.
P.Kashyap, is also supposed to play in the Thailand GPG scheduled from February 8. The Indian squad, which includes K.Srikanth, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, Prannoy and Ajay Jayaram are also reluctant to play as they would be participating in the Badminton Asia Team Championships from February 15 to 21 in Hyderabad. The SAG games would disrupt their training for the event and the players find themselves in a fix, with the BAI and Ministry adamant that the top players be sent to the event.
Will the BAI see the bigger picture or will the players lose out on ranking points, is yet to be seen.