Srikanth clings to slim Tokyo hopes

New Delhi, May 13

A day after the Singapore Open badminton tournament — the final qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics — was cancelled, former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth harbours “some hope” of making it to Tokyo.

His faint optimism rests on an assurance by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on the qualification process.

Srikanth and London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal are out of the contention to qualify for Tokyo after BWF yesterday cancelled the Singapore Open due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Earlier, the Malaysia Open and India Open were similarly cancelled due to the pandemic. Both Srikanth and Saina are low on the Race to Tokyo rankings and can’t rise up because of the absence of qualifying tournaments.

The BWF, however, said it “will issue a further statement on Tokyo Olympics qualifying at a later date.”

“I could have qualified if I had participated in the qualifiers but there is nothing much I can do about it now. Just waiting to see what BWF says about this whole qualification things, so yeah holding on to some hope,” Srikanth said. “I’m not really thinking about what BWF can do, because whatever I think it will naturally be to make my qualification possible.”

Taking a break

There is no tournament scheduled till August and his home state Telangana too has gone into a lockdown. Srikanth said he would now take a break from training.

“I have taken a break. They are trying to get some permission for training. If we get that then probably from next week I will start training,” said Srikanth.

Asked if the BWF could have done anything differently, Srikanth said: “Now we can say a lot of things because the tournament is not happening but we really don’t know what is happening between the organisers and BWF. So, I don’t know what else can be done, maybe BWF can communicate things better to players.” — PTI

Tokyo-bound players taking a break

With no events lined up, Olympics-bound shuttlers such as PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth and the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have decided to take some time off. “Definitely disappointed that all the three events got cancelled. I have been training for seven weeks but now just training without purpose makes no sense,” world No. 15 Praneeth said. “I, at least, have Olympics to look forward to and I plan to start training again from next week.”

Chirag said “it is difficult to stay motivated” in such uncertain times. “We trained for one-and-a-half months for India Open but the situation worsened. Now we are left with no events after constant planning and training,” he said. “Me and Satwik have decided to relax a bit. …the main training for the Olympics will be just one-and-a-half months before the event.”

Sindhu too will take the week off. “Coach Park (Tae Sang) had put a good amount of load on Sindhu till last Monday, so now he asked her to take her mind totally off badminton,” Sindhu’s father PV Ramana said.

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