BAI to discuss Saina’s pullout in selection meeting

Even as the debate rages on whether London Olympic Games bronze-medallist, Saina Nehwal, was right in pulling out of the Syed Modi Memorial tournament in the first round citing knee injury, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) is seriously thinking about discussing the issue threadbare during its selection committee meeting on December 23.

What a sham!
In what looked like a sham, the Hyderabad player conceded her match to a Russian opponent despite being a point away from securing a second-round berth.

Saina had reportedly asked for the flight ticket to be booked much before the first-round match had commenced.

"This issue (of conceding the match) is expected to come up when the selection committee meets in Lucknow to decide the pool of players for camps and internationals events," said BAI secretary Vijai Sinha.

BAI vice-president, TPS Puri, did not go into the specifics but said, "A mechanism should be evolved to help top players participate in the nationals, keeping in mind their international commitments."

It remains to be seen what the top officials have to say after the selection panel meeting to be attended, among others, by chief national coach, P Gopichand, and senior selector, Dinesh Khanna.

One thing is for sure that sparks are bound to fly as some top officials and former players — who alluded to the fact that the matter could be discussed during the selection panel meeting — were seething with anger after Saina's pullout.

Noticing a trend
They are seeing a trend in Saina's last-minute pullouts from major national events, including the national championships in Srinagar recently.

"She always comes up with a knee problem whenever there is a tournament in India. Why not have her examined by a team of doctors?" said a BAI official on condition of anonymity.

He agreed, though, that Saina's injury could be genuine and that she could be actually tired, given her hectic international schedule.

But the manner of her pullout on Wednesday has certainly not endeared her to the fans and organisers.


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