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Big Blow for Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth; Indian Shuttlers Forced to Withdraw from Malaysia Open

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The Indian badminton team will not travel to Malaysia to take part in the upcoming Malaysia Open Tour Super 750, which was scheduled to start from May 25 to 30 because of a temporary travel ban imposed by the Malaysian Government on travellers from India. The ban came into effect on April 28, 2021.

It was one of the last few events that contribute to Olympic qualification which ends on June 15.

‘The Indian Badminton Team will have to withdraw from the Malaysian Open, scheduled from May 25 to 30, owing to a temporary travel restriction imposed by the Malaysian Government on travellers from India. The ban came into effect on April 28, 2021. The tournament is one of the last events that contribute to Olympic qualification which ends on June 15. All top Indian singles and doubles players like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy were due to participate.

The Sports Ministry, through the Ministry of External Affairs, approached the Malaysian authorities requesting to permit the Indian team to participate, but owing to the rise in Covid 19 cases in India, the Malaysian government has informed the Indian High Commission in Malaysia that the travel of the team cannot be presently permitted,’ an official statement read.

Only PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth and the men’s doubles team of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have secured their Olympics berth owing to their superior rankings. Sindhu is ranked 7th, while Prannoy is ranked 13th and Chirag-Satwiksairaj are placed 8th in their respective categories. The top 16 shuttlers as per the Race to Tokyo list to be published on June 15 will earn a direct berth at the Olympics.

Currently, Saina Nehwal is ranked 22nd while Kidambi Srinakth is placed 20th, they would at least had to qualify for the quarters to boost their chances of Olympic berth.

With this, Indian shuttlers have only Indonesia Open and India open as opportunities to book their Olympic ticket. India Open was initially scheduled to be held in New Delhi from May 11 to 16 but was postponed to the surge in Covid cases in the sub-continent.

It was earlier reported that the Badminton Association of India was trying to see if the Indian shuttlers can leave for Malaysia and Singapore via Doha to participate in the last two Olympic qualifiers next month.

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