Saina to skip trials for CWG, Asiad, Uber Cup
Olympic bronze medal-winning shuttler Saina Nehwal will skip the selection trials for the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Uber Cup to be held here from April 15-20.
“Trials at this point make no sense. The Asian Games is still five months away. Two weeks after the Europe swing and a week-and-a-half before the Asian Championships (April 26-May 1 in Manila), I didn’t want to put my body through another set of matches. I can’t take that chance. It’s okay if other players are considered good enough and more deserving than I am. I have no problem,” former world No 1 Saina told ESPN.
While the Commonwealth Games are scheduled in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8, the Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10-25. The 32-year-old is a two-time CWG champion and won bronze at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. She also has a team gold, silver and bronze each in CWG and a team bronze from the continental Games. The world No 23 guided India to two bronze finishes at the Uber Cup (world women’s team championships)—the two times India have medalled at the event. The Uber Cup is scheduled to be held in Bangkok from May 8-15.
“I skipped the Korea tournaments so I could prepare for the Asian Championships. In the middle of a busy stretch of tournaments, sudden trials do seem like a way of creating unnecessary pressure. I’ve had good results at the Games in the past but it’s not that I’m emotional about it. I just want to give all I have at whichever tournament I play next and do well for my country. That’s my simple target,” said Saina.
Hyderabad-based Saina has had a poor run due to injuries and niggles. She suffered four second round defeats this year, losing to lower-ranked players. She had also skipped the world championships in Huelva last year.
A BAI official said on condition of anonymity that it is yet to take a decision on Saina’s request.
The trials will see the participation of players ranked from 16-50 in the world. Players who have notable performances in the international circuit in the last three months will be selected directly alongside those ranked in the top-15 in the world. The vacant spots will be filled on the basis of performances in the trials. BAI will also finalise probables for the senior core group for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
While the CWG squad will have 10 members, the Asiad and Thomas and Uber Cup contingents will have 20 members each. An equal number of men and women will be selected.