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"BAI trying to pull me down" - Saina Nehwal lashes out at federation

Saina Nehwal has spoken up against the BAI and alleged they are "happy to put me out of CWG" squad after she announced she will be skipping the badminton selection trials.

Saina Nehwal BAI Selection Trials

FILE PHOTO: Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal. (Photo credit: AFP)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 14 April 2022 12:00 PM GMT

Saina Nehwal has found herself in the middle of controversy and speculation ever since the World No. 23 Indian badminton star announced that she will be giving the upcoming BAI Selection Trials for the Thomas & Uber Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games a miss.

With this announcement, several opinions are also doing the rounds, leading to many believing that the 32-year-old Saina is voluntarily unwilling to defend her CWG gold and the bronze from the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games.

Taking to Twitter to voice her fury against the BAI and to snuff out such misconceptions, Saina Nehwal wrote in a thread:

"Surprised to see all the articles stating that I don't want to defend my CWG title and my Asiad medal. I'm just not participating in the trials because I just got back from 3 weeks of Europe events and according to the schedule there's Asian Championships @BAI_Media @ianuragthakur"

"In 2 weeks time , As a senior player to participate in back to back events nonstop is impossible and it's risking injuries, such short notice is not possible. I've conveyed this to BAI but there has been no response from them.It seems like they're happy to put me out of CWG (sic)"

"Asiad. I wish we had better understanding about how to manage a schedule and not announce events with 10 days notice.I'm world no.23 currently and I almost beat the world no.1 Akane in All England . One loss at India open and BAI tries to pull me down. Shocking @Media_SAI"

Interestingly, the BAI trials will be the only tournament to pick players for the upcoming mega-events, a BAI source revealed, which directly puts Saina Nehwal's presence in the squad in question.

Having slipped out of the BWF Top 15 rankings, the former World No. 1 from Hisar, Haryana is required to go through the trials to ensure selections for the squad in the upcoming quadrennial extravaganzas.

However, Nehwal, the defending champion from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where she had defeated PV Sindhu in the finals, has decided to not put her body through this and risk injuries and therefore, wrote to the BAI about skipping the trials scheduled to take place in New Delhi from 15th to 20th April.

Nehwal, who has been having injury trouble of late with her knee causing issues often, staged a mighty fight against World Champion Akane Yamaguchi at the All England Open in March, during a second-round clash, showing sparks of her brilliance.

However, as per this, Nehwal isn't pleased with how BAI is handling the matter and has even alleged that the top body is "happy to put me out of CWG".

HS Prannoy granted direct selection

Meanwhile, World No. 23 men's shuttler HS Prannoy will not have to play in the trials and has been selected directly for it by the BAI, given Prannoy's rich string of performances over the last few months.

Also a gold medallist from the Mixed event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a bronze medallist from the 2018 Asiad, the 29-year-old shuttler has been enjoying a good form and finished as the runners-up at the Swiss Open last month, losing to Jonatan Christie.

Other than that, in 2022, Prannoy has reached the quarters of the India Open, the Syed Modi Championships and the German Open as well, making the BAI select him for the squad despite his rank being outside the BWF Top 15.

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