Dubai: India’s London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal has yet to join a badminton training camp for next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympics following a reported fall-out with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
The collision comes after the SAI and BAI failed to add Nehwal’s husband and Tokyo hopeful Parupalli Kashyap to their list of potential players for next year’s Games in Japan.
Kashyap won men’s singles gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and currently sits 24th in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings — making him the third-highest player from India.
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Nehwal, a former world No. 1, has not joined the camp that started on August 7 and has instead been training at a different facility near the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad — where the national team is based for their training camp.
Both Nehwal, 30, and Kashyap, 33, believe that more players should be allowed to train with the team, especially as only a handful of the eight selected have reported for the training camp that also includes Ashwini Ponnappa, Sai Praneeth, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj, double Commonwealth Games medallist Kidambi Srikanth and N Sikki Reddy.
Kashyap confirmed that one of the reasons Nehwal, a triple Commonwealth Games gold medallist, had not reported to the camp was due to his omission.
“Saina and I made a personal request — she wasn’t seeking any favours, but argued on valid grounds,” Kashyap explained in a section of the Indian media.
“She told the authorities that Kashyap is world No. 24 in men’s singles, is No. 3 in India and stands an outside chance to qualify for the Games. She could have joined the camp in my absence and I had gone to a different centre to join, but she was of the view why not everyone else who stands a chance to qualify, including both of us, train together?
“It’s possible that we 15 to 16 players can train together at the Gopichand Academy as part of the camp — I don’t know how SAI and BAI decided that I am not an Olympic probable.”
Stars including reigning world champion and Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu have returned to the eight-member camp at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad following approval from the Telangana Government.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) season drew to a halt in March following the conclusion of the All England Open. The next BWF event is currently scheduled to be the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark in the first half of October. The event will be followed by the Danisa Denmark Open in Odense from October 13 to 18.