Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth's Olympic Hopes Virtually Over As Singapore Open Cancelled
Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth suffered a huge blow when the Singapore Open tournament, one of badminton's last Olympic qualifying events, was cancelled on May 12 due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth's participation in Tokyo games almost over
Singapore Open was cancelled due to the Covid-related travel restrictions
It was the last qualifying event as Malaysian Open was earlier postponed
Star Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth's chances of booking berths for Tokyo Olympics are all but over after the world body on Wednesday cancelled the last qualifying event in Singapore due to the coronavirus-related travel restrictions. The tournament organisers Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) and Badminton World Federation (BWF) jointly agreed to cancel the Singapore Open scheduled for June 1-6. The Singapore Open, a Super 500 event on the BWF World Tour, was the last tournament offering Race To Tokyo ranking points inside the Olympic qualifying window.
"In the interests of all players, tournament personnel and the local community's health and safety, the event has been cancelled. BWF can confirm the tournament will not be rescheduled," the BWF said in a statement.
"All attempts were made by the organisers and BWF to provide a safe tournament environment for all participants. However, rising COVID-19 cases globally led to complex challenges in managing inbound travel," the statement said.
The BWF said it will issue a further statement on Tokyo Olympics qualifying at a later date.
The chances of London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina and Srikanth qualifying for the Olympics had hinged on the Singapore Open after the Malaysian Open (May 25 to 30) was postponed on May 7.
After the postponement of the Malaysian Open, Badminton Association of India (BAI) had reached out to the world body, seeking clarity on the qualification scenario for its shuttlers.
With Singapore suspending all flights from COVID-ravaged India, it was always going to be a difficult task for the Indian players, to travel to the country for the last qualifier.
Indian shuttlers who have already made the cut for the Olympics include PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth and the men's doubles pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.