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Anup Sridhar fit for Indian Open

other Updated: Mar 24, 2008 22:20 IST

IANS
Highlight Story

India's top shuttler Anup Sridhar has been pronounced physically fit to play in the Indian Open Grand Prix badminton Championship.

Sridhar's participation in the inaugural Indian Open to be played in Hyderabad from April 1, was in doubt as he had injured his left heel during the Swiss Open in the second week of March.

He was cleared by his doctor Sharan Patil on Monday to play in the $120,000 Hyderabad tournament that carries Olympic qualification points.

Sridhar told IANS from Bangalore that he has been recommended light exercise and to gradually increase the work-load.

"My doctor saw me today and said that the injury has healed. He was confident that I could play in the competition. I am feeling comfortable and the swelling has subsided. I think I can make it.

"It is a very important tournament for me because such a big event is being played at home, it is such a huge advantage. I was in good form in the Swiss Open and All England and I am hopeful of picking it up from there," said a relieved Sridhar, who reached a career-high of world no. 24 last week.

Sridhar, who reached a career-high ranking of 24 this week, gave a scare to top seed Lin Dan during the All England Championship and dumped world no.17 Shoji Sato of Japan in the opening round of Swiss Open. But the injury forced the Banglorean to retire midway though the match against Taufik Hidayat.

"There was a tear in the left ankle. It was not a ligament or a tissue tear but a bunch of fibres (a rupture in plantar facia). I snapped it during the match and it was very painful. I was not able to lift my feet and I thought it will take a long time to heal," he said.

Since then Sridhar was fighting to be fit in time for the Indian Open where some of world's best will compete in the first event of its kind in the country.

"I will start training from tomorrow with some light exercise and then slowly build-up on my training."

A relieved Sridhar said he was looking forward to taking on England's Anrdew Smith in the first round of the Indian Open.

"I have a pretty good chance in the tournament. The only time I have played Andrew, I have beaten him. He is a very good player and was in the top-20s some months back. With home advantage behind me, I have a good chance of beating some top players," Sridhar said.

The cut-off date for Olympic qualification is April 30 and Sridhar is a certainty with the other Indian players far behind him. But, Sridhar will look to notch up a couple of good victories over better-ranked players in the last two qualifying events - the Indian Open and the Asian Championship - so that he could get a better draw at the Beijing Games.