The Indian women's badminton team withdrew from the Badminton Asia Championships that is scheduled to he held in Manila, Philippines. The Badminton Association of India (BAI) had initially named a second-string team for event being held from February 11, 2020 to February 16, 2020 after PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal had decided to skip the event to focus on preparing and qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The women's team had young players like Ashmita Chaliha and Malvika Bansod in the squad.
A full-strength men's team, however, will travel to Manila for the event. Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy along with Lakshya Sen and Subhankar Dey will leave for the tournament on February 9 after they agreed to travel to the country.
"Unforeseen health hazard apprehension due to the Corona Virus outbreak has resulted in withdrawal of the women's team for the upcoming Badminton Asian Championships, which is starting from Feb 11-16, 2020 in Manila, Philippines," the Badminton Association of India (BAI) said in a statement.
BAI had reached out to the concerned authorities in Badminton Asia (BA) for assurances regarding the current situation and necessary health advisory and precautionary measures taken.
"After receiving complete assurances from BA, BAI had discussed the same with the Indian squad, the men's team agreed to travel and confirmed their participation, however, the women's team was withdrawn owing to concerns showed by parents and players," BAI secretary general Ajay Kumar Singhania said.
The Indian men's team had won a bronze medal at the Asian Championships in 2016, and will be looking to replicate their feat as they also look to earn crucial qualifying points ahead of the Olympics.
In the men's doubles event, the pair of Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun will take the courts.