India’s ace shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth’s chances of booking berths for the Tokyo Olympics are all but over after the world body on Wednesday cancelled the last qualifying event in Singapore due to the coronavirus-related travel restrictions. The news comes as a rude shock for India’s medal hopefuls at the quadrennial event, scheduled to be played from July 23 – August 8. The Singapore Open, a Super 500 event on the BWF World Tour, was the last tournament offering Race To Tokyo ranking points inside the Olympic qualifying window. Also Read - Third COVID Wave Unlikely to Affect Children in India, Finds WHO-AIIMS Study
The tournament organizers Singapore Badminton Association and Badminton World Federation jointly agreed to cancel the Singapore Open scheduled for June 1-6. “In the interests of all players, tournament personnel and the local community’s health and safety, the event has been cancelled. BWF can confirm the tournament will not be rescheduled,” the BWF said in a statement. Also Read - Sergio Ramos Admits he Wanted to Stay at Real Madrid But Offer Had Expiry Date
“All attempts were made by the organizers and BWF to provide a safe tournament environment for all participants. However, rising COVID-19 cases globally led to complex challenges in managing inbound travel.” Also Read - Haryana Lockdown: State Govt Announces Rs 5,000 Relief Package For Workers, Shopkeepers
The BWF said it will issue a further statement on Tokyo Olympics qualifying at a later date.
The chances of London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina and Srikanth qualifying for the Olympics had hinged on the Singapore Open after the Malaysian Open (May 25 to 30) was postponed on May 7.
After the postponement of the Malaysian Open, the Badminton Association of India – BAI) – had reached out to the world body, seeking clarity on the qualification scenario for its shuttlers.
With Singapore suspending all flights from COVID-ravaged India, it was always going to be a difficult task for the Indian players, to travel to the country for the last qualifier.
Indian shuttlers who have already made the cut for the Olympics include PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth and the men’s doubles pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.