Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth’s hopes of making it to the Tokyo Olympics in the year hangs by a thin thread as the Indian shuttlers are forced to withdraw from the Malaysian Open. It was reported on Thursday that the Indian team has withdrawn from the upcoming event after the Malaysian government imposed a ban on travellers from India as the country has been hit hard by the second wave of Covid-19. Also Read - Tokyo Olympics 2021: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wishes Very Best to Indian Contingent

“The Indian badminton team will have to withdraw from the Malaysian Open, scheduled from May 25 to 30, owing to a temporary travel restriction imposed by the Malaysian Government on travellers from India,” said the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Thursday. Also Read - Swimmers Srihari Nataraj, Maana Patel Nominated For Universality Places in Tokyo Olympics

Malaysia Open was the penultimate event that provided points for Olympic qualification. The last tournament will be the Singapore Open Super 500 scheduled to be held from June 1 to 6. Also Read - BCCI to Donate Rs 10 Crore For Olympic-Bound Athletes' Preparations

“The tournament is one of the last events that contribute to Olympic qualification which ends on June 15. All top Indian singles and doubles players like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy were due to participate,” said SAI.

Meanwhile, the Sports Ministry through the Ministry of External Affairs had requested the Malaysian authorities to let their players participate in the event but their appeal was denied, which has led to the withdrawal of the Indian contingent. On the other hand, there is no update for the Singapore event.

The Badminton Association of India had earlier revealed that it will try to send the Indian players to Malaysia via Doha, Qatar route.

“Currently as per the guidelines laid out, for any Indian to enter Singapore, they have to either be in quarantine in a foreign country other than India for 14 days before they will be allowed to enter Singapore. Alternatively, all players have to maintain a 21-day quarantine period in Singapore,” BAI had said on April 29.

Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth will need to at least make it to the final of the Singapore Open Super 500 (if they will be able to play the tournament) to make their way into the Olympics. Furthermore, they will have to hope that other players above them in the rankings don’t go beyond them in the same tournament.