Ace badminton stars Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal’s hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics crashed after (Badminton World Federation) BWF declared that there will be no qualification tournaments ahead of the mega event. With this, only four shuttlers will be representing India in Tokyo. Former world no 1 Srikanth and London Games bronze-medallist Saina’s hopes were quashed when the last of the Olympic qualifiers in Singapore was cancelled due to Coronavirus.
The top 16 ranked players secured automatic qualifications. Saina is ranked 22, while Srikanth is placed at the 20th spot in their respective singles categories. Without Saina and Kidambi, India now rest their hopes on PV Sindhu and Sai Praneeth.
“The Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm that no further tournaments will be played inside the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifying window. As such, while the qualification period officially closes on 15 June 2021 as per the Revised Tokyo 2020 Qualification System, the current Race. To Tokyo, the rankings list will not change. Invitations will be sent shortly with final participation lists and seedings to be published at the conclusion of this process,” read a BWF statement.
The Coronavirus situation forced the BWF to postpone three qualification events – India Open, Malaysia Open and Singapore Open, leaving players, including Srikanth and Saina, with no chance to earn a qualification. Earlier, the apex body pushed the cut off dates for qualification to 15 June, nearly two months ahead of the original cut off date.
Apart from PV Sindhu and Sai Praneeth, men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, currently ranked 11 in the world, have also secured a berth for the quadrennial event.