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Badminton

Why is Saina Nehwal not playing at the Tokyo Olympics?

Explaining the reason why India's Saina Nehwal is not taking a part at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Saina Nehwal
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Saina Nehwal (Source: Orleans Masters Badminton/Facebook)

By

The Bridge Desk

Published: 9 Jun 2021 4:18 AM GMT

Saina Nehwal won't be playing at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. She was the first female superstar of Indian badminton who won the bronze medal at the Olympics in 2012. However, with each passing day, in the last couple of years, the former World No. 1 seemed to be languishing out of form enduring a torrid run in the international circuit.

She began her Race to Tokyo campaign with the New Zealand Open in 2019 making an exit in the opening round. A series of similar first-round exits further depleted her chances to qualify. Her best performance since then has been the semifinal finish at the recently concluded Orleans Masters. Saina played a total of 17 tournaments during the Tokyo Olympics qualification cycle which started in April 2019 and earned a total of 57367.4134 points. Considering the 10 best results that contribute to Race to Tokyo Rankings she has 43037 points. The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist played a total of 28 matches during this time and won just 11 of those with a poor 39.2% win percentage.

Saina Nehwal's performances in the Tokyo Olympics qualifying tournaments

Event

Position

New Zealand Open 2019

Round 1

Sudirman Cup 2019

Lost the only match played

Thailand Open 2019

Round 2

World Championships 2019

Round 2

China Open 2019

Round 1

Korea Open 2019

Round 1

Denmark Open 2019

Round 1

French Open 2019

Quarterfinals

China Open 2019

Round 1

Hong Kong Open 2019

Round 1

Malaysia Masters 2020

Quarterfinals

Indonesia Masters 2020

Round 1

Thailand Masters 2020

Round 1

Barcelona Spain Masters 2020

Quarterfinals

All England Open 2020

Round 1

Swiss Open 2021

Round 1

Orleans Masters 2021

Semifinals

Saina Nehwal's hope of qualifying was dashed after the final Olympic qualifier in Singapore was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The governing body Badminton World Federation (BWF) issued a statement that "The Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm no further tournaments will be played inside the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifying window," the apex body said in a statement on Friday. "As such, while the qualification period officially closes 15 June 2021 as per the Revised Tokyo 2020 Qualification System, the current Race To Tokyo rankings list will not change." Owing to the health crisis, the world body had earlier revised the qualification period, extending it by nearly two months to June 15 after the postponement of three important events.

Indian shuttlers who have already made the cut for the Olympics include PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth and the men's doubles pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.

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