Top Indian shuttlers reluctant to play at SAG

Top Indian shuttlers reluctant to play at SAG

Top Indian shuttlers including Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu are reluctant to play at the upcoming South Asian Games so that their preparations and training schedule for the Rio Olympics does not get affected.

The qualification for the Rio would depend on world rankings in May and the players are keen that they compete in international events to keep improving their standings.

South Asian Games are clashing with the Thailand Masters but Badminton Association of India (BAI) is trying to convince the players to not withdraw.

"Some of the top players such as Saina and Sindhu have sent letters to the BAI citing fitness and health issues to skip the SAG. We will try to convince them or leave it to the government to take a call," said a BAI source.

Games competition director K Ch Punnaiah Chowdary is unaware of any such development.
"As of now, I have no such information," he said.

Indian shuttlers are also set to compete at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad from February 15 to 21 and participating in SA games will disrupt their training and tournament schedule.

The team championship at the Games is scheduled for February 6 and 7 for men and women respectively. The semifinals will be held on February 8 and finals in the evening, while the individual events will be held on February 9 and 10.

Indian shuttlers managed a clean sweep, clinching all 7 gold medals in both men's and women's events in the last event, popularly called the Olympics Games of South Asia, when it was held in 2010 in Bangladesh.

This time, all the eight nations will be participating in the badminton event for the first time in the history of SAG but the top Indian shuttlers are finding themselves in a difficult spot as it is an Olympic year.

Last Wednesday, BAI had announced that World No.2 Saina and World No.9 Srikanth will be spearheading a strong 15-member squad for the Games. Double World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu and 2014 Commonwealth Games (CWG) champion Parupalli Kashyap, H S Prannoy, Ajay Jayaram, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa have also been named in the squad.

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