Indian shuttlers H S Prannoy and B Sai Praneeth Monday claimed that administrative goof-ups by the Badminton Association of India have robbed them of participation at the Asia Badminton Championship, an allegation that the BAI refuted. India will be represented by Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma in men’s singles at the USD 400,000 event in Wuhan, China, commencing on Tuesday after the BAI allegedly did not confirm the entries of Prannoy and Praneeth to the organisers.
“According to the process, Badminton Asia confederation sent the allocations informing who are the players who all have qualified from a country. All other countries like Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia have four entries even though Indonesia and Malaysian players are ranked way below me and Praneeth,” Prannoy told PTI. “So I enquired about the rules and came to know BAI didn’t reply to the e-mails confirming our entries,” added the 26-year-old, who had won a bronze at the last edition. The BAI, however, said in a statement that Badminton Asia asked for only two entries in men’s singles and it sent the names of Srikanth and Verma based on their world rankings.
“Based on the e-mail received from Badminton Asia, we were asked to send names of two players each for Men Singles, Women’s Singles; three names each for Men’s and Women’s doubles and 4 players for mixed doubles. And the draw that was published based on the World Ranking of players dated week of February 26, 2019, mentioned Kidambi Srikanth (World Ranking 6) and Sameer Verma (World Ranking 11) in the main draw as per the ranking eligibility list published by Badminton Asia and the same was followed to send the players for the Championships,” the BAI said in a statement.
Prannoy, who had been battling a gastroesophageal reflux disease since last year, has missed out on a lot of time. He was looking good in the last few weeks, having reached the quarterfinals at India Open, but now he won’t have the chance to defend his semifinal ranking points. “It happened in 2016 also. ABC was the last event for the Olympic race and me and Ajay Jayaram was also running for the Olympics. Then Kashyap and Srikanth got the entries, so that time also nobody told us. At that time also BAI didn’t confirm.
“Last year we all played because the guy who send the entries, Abhijit, was doing everything correctly, now I don’t know what is happening, who is missing. The system is entirely messed up,” alleged the 26-year-old. “Next year ABC will come in the Tokyo qualification and if they mess it up again then I won’t be able to take it,” added a frustrated Prannoy.
According to sources, the BAI did not send the entries of around 10 shuttlers, including top doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, for the New Zealand Open (April 30 to May 5), which starts the Olympic qualification race. “Almost 10 entries have been missed even though players had sent their names before the deadline and they are not even apologising for it,” Prannoy claimed. Satwik had been nursing a shoulder injury and was missing in action this season. They had planned to start the year with the New Zealand Open but now they have decided to utilise the time playing international challenger events in Brazil and Denmark.
“After we came to know that our entries were not sent we decided to play at Brazil and Denmark,” Chirag said. Prannoy also alleged that traveling for tournaments too has become difficult as the players mostly come to know about the ticket confirmation at the last moment. “The guys who is handling our entries, traveling, transporting is messing it up for the last five months since Abhijit quit BAI. “Ticketing is done at last moment. If we are traveling on Saturday, we are getting to know on that day itself and we are getting worse flights. Why can’t they confirm our tickets five days before,” asked Prannoy.
He also claimed that they were stranded in Hong Kong during the Asia Mixed team championship, apparently, due to another goof-up by the BAI. “When we went to Hong Kong for ABC mixed team event, we were stranded at the airport for two hours. There was no transportation for us because BAI didn’t send the request to the organisers,” he said.
“The BAI official sent in the transportation request for Hong Kong event in the form of Wuhan event (individual event). Can you imagine that?,” Prannoy said.