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Saina misses Tokyo Olympics cut

Last updated on: May 28, 2021 15:27 IST
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Badminton's Tokyo rankings frozen as BWF rules out any more qualifying tournaments.

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal was hoping to improve her 22nd position at the Malaysian Open and the Singapore Open but both were cancelled due to travel complications amid the COVID-19 pandemic 

IMAGE: India's badminton star Saina Nehwal was hoping to improve her 22nd position at the Malaysian Open and the Singapore Open but both were cancelled due to travel complications amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photograph: Darren Whiteside/Reuters

Badminton's Olympic rankings were frozen on Friday with the game's governing body saying no further qualifying tournaments will take place before the Tokyo Games this year.

India’s Saina Nehwal and former World No 1 Kidambi Srikanth had their hopes dashed when the last of the Olympic qualifiers in Singapore was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The duo had hung on a slim hope when the governing body said it "will issue a further statement on Tokyo Olympics qualifying at a later date".

 

The qualifying period officially closes on June 15 but the current Race-to-Tokyo rankings will not change, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said in a statement.

"The Olympic qualification process is in effect closed as there are no additional opportunities for players to earn points," BWF secretary general Thomas Lund said.

"However, we still need to receive confirmations from National Olympic Committees and Member Associations, followed by any possible reallocations, and this will take a number of weeks to complete."

Former women's world number one Nehwal is among those whose qualification hopes evaporated as she failed to break into the top 16.

Nehwal, who won a bronze at the 2012 London Games, was hoping to improve her 22nd position at the Malaysian Open and the Singapore Open but both were cancelled due to travel complications amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the qualification rules, the top 16 players -- a maximum of two players each in men's and women's singles from a country -- as on June 15 will gain direct entries.

The BWF said "invitations will be sent shortly with final participation lists and seedings to be published at the conclusion of this process."

PV Sindhu who won a silver in the 2016 Rio Games, is ranked seventh and will be the lone Indian in women's singles at Tokyo.

Among other Indian shuttlers who have already made the cut for the Olympics  are B Sai Praneeth and the men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.

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