Saina Nehwal wants to skip next month’s Asia Team championship to prepare for the All England Championship. However, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) is persuading the Indian ace to not forego the event as it also serves the qualifier for prestigious Uber cup.
London Olympic’s bronze medalist Saina, after recovering from her ankle injury, has written a letter to BAI to allow her to withdraw from the Asian event scheduled from February 6 to 11 at Alor Setar, Malaysia.
Secretary-General of Badminton Association of India (BAI), Anoop Narang has insisted Saina to be part of this event, saying that the Uber Cup qualifier is a matter of national pride and the association wants to file their best shuttlers for it.
Uber Cup qualifier is a critically important tournament as well and Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Ashwini Ponnappa and others are expected to take part as the matter is of national pride and BAI is keen to ensure the best performance from the nation, as Narang conveyed. Hence, BAI is trying to convince Saina to modify her training programme and accommodate the tournament in her schedule.
“It is a critical tournament since it is a qualifier for Thomas and Uber Cup. If we don’t qualify we will be out of the World group, so we will have to field the best team,” BAI secretary Anoop Narang told PTI.
He also recommended the redesigning of training programmes so that Saina and the others can utilise the one month that they will have ahead of the All England Championship. The All England Championship will be held at Birmingham from March 14.
‘Uber Cup is the World Team Championship. It is a matter of pride. It is the equivalent of the Davis Cup in tennis. Only three teams from Asia qualify for this and Asia has the top teams in women’s section as we have China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand. And it is imperative that we must put our best foot forward’, Narang added.
In the 2014 and 2016 edition of the Uber Cup, Indian women’s team has reached the semifinals.