Two-time Commonwealth Games champion Saina Nehwal is among the shuttlers who will skip the national badminton trials for the Asian Mixed Team Championship to be held in Dubai from February 14 to 19. Former world number 1 Saina was named along with Akarshi Kashyap and Malvika. Bansod for trial. The senior selection committee gave their names to pick the second women’s singles player who will join double Olympic medalist PV Sindhu in the squad for the Asian meet. However, both Saina and Malvika decided to skip the trial.
“Saina and Malvika have informed the BAI about their unavailability for the trials. Hence, Asmita Chaliha has been invited for the trials. There are also a few pull outs,” a Badminton Association of India (BAI) source told PTI.
With both Saina and Malvika unavailable, it will be a battle between Akashi and Asmita.
Saina endured a difficult 2022, battling multiple injuries and a lack of form that saw her drop to world No. 31.
The 32-year-old skipped the qualifying trials for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in April last year to manage his workload after returning from a three-week European event.
The selection committee decided to directly enter singles players Lakshya Sen, HS Prannoy, PV Sindhu and men’s doubles pair of Satviksairaj Ranikreddy and Chirag Shetty into the squad based on their higher world rankings.
The committee, which held a virtual meeting on December 25, decided to pick the rest of the 14-member squad in a trial, which has now become a one-day affair due to the unavailability of players.
It was also learned that MR Arjun was injured and would not be available for the trials, with the race for the men’s doubles spot turning into a knockout contest between Krishna Prasad Garg-Vishnuvardhan Gaur P and Ishan Bhatnagar-Sai Pathek K.
Satvik and Cherag will join the winning team.
The pair of former Commonwealth Games bronze medalists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will also not be available for the trials as they parted ways a few months ago.
With two spots at stake in the women’s doubles, world number 17 Trisa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand lead the way. The other two pairs in the trial are Ashwini Bhatt and Shikha Gautam and Haritha Manajhil and Ashna Roy.
In mixed doubles, it will be between Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto and the new pair of Rohan Kapoor and Sikki Reddy for a spot.
The Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship will be the third edition of the biennial event. The 2021 edition was supposed to be held in Wuhan, China but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
India lost 2-3 to Thailand in the quarter-finals in 2017 and failed to qualify for the knockout stages in 2019.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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