Uncertainty over stars' participation

Uncertainty over stars' participation

With just two days left for the start of the Senior National badminton championships at the KBA courts here, the cloud of uncertainity over the participation of the country’s leading shuttlers continues to mushroom.

The two-day qualifying rounds for the 76th edition of the Open event begin on Tuesday, while the main draw kicks off only January 21.

In between, the 67th inter-State meet will be played on January 19 and 20, which is expected to draw top names like Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and V Diju, whose names feature in the team list released by their respective employers.

It is learnt from reliable sources that none of these shuttlers will be taking part in the Open categories though it is mandatory for them to play in the inter-State meet for their employers if the latter insist.

But indications are that the top players will give a skip to the Inter-State championship. There
is a chance that these shuttlers will join their respective teams but will not take the court.

“PSPB have named Saina in their team, so she is expected to come here. Whether Saina and other top players play in the inter-State meet is uncertain. But all these shuttlers might join the team here,” said tournament director U Vimal Kumar on Saturday.

Saina, who lost in the Malaysian Open semifinals, is expected to reach India on Sunday, but she is unlikely to play in four days’ time after travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Hyderabad with hardly any time to rest, risking injury in an Olympic year and with a busy schedule ahead. “I have a busy schedule and I don’t want to risk injury as next year is an Olympic year,” Saina said last month when queried about her participation in the Nationals.

To make things worse, a five-day Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) inter-unit meet will be starting on January 27 at Jaipur where it is mandatory for all top players to participate.
However, the good news is that apart from P Kashyap, who is nursing a harmstring injury, all the other top men’s shuttlers will be competing in the meet.

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