Commonwealth Games gold medallists Saina Nehwal and women's doubles combination of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will give the Senior National badminton championship to be held in Rohtak, Haryana from January 6-10, a miss to prepare for the upcoming international season.
Jwala was present at the media conference in New Delhi on Tuesday to announce the tournament schedule and spoke about the importance of the domestic circuit. However, the entry list for the tournament confirmed that she would not be defending her women's doubles and mixed doubles titles (with V Diju) this year.
Jwala teamed up with Ashwini for the first time last season and bagged the national crown rather easily. However, the pair won't be defending their title, as both of them have preferred to take rest and have even skipped the India Grand Prix in Hyderabad last week for the same reason.
It is, however, unclear whether Jwala and Ashwini will turn up for their employers Petroleum Sports Promotion Board, for the Inter-State championship that precedes the nationals.
While this is the first time that Jwala will be skipping the nationals in a decade, Saina will has opted out for the third time in a row.
The 20-year-old is recuperating from an ankle injury that forced her to pull out of the India GP and wants to prepare for the Malaysian Super Series to be held in the last week of January.