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Saina Nehwal to skip Asian Games trials due to fitness issues

Two-time Commonwealth Games champion Saina Nehwal will not be participating at the national badminton selections trials for the upcoming Asian Games due to fitness issues.

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) will be conducting the trial from May 4 to 7 at Jwala Gutta Academy of Excellence in Telangana to pick the team for the prestigious tournament, which be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8.

“Saina Nehwal will not be participating as she has some fitness issues. Also the men’s pair of Kushal Raj and Prakash Raj has also withdrawn from the trials,” BAI secretary Sanjay Mishra told PTI.

“However, rest of the players who were invited for the trials will be competing this week for the spots.” Saina last played at the Orleans Masters. Battling injuries for quite some time, the former world number one had skipped the trials for Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships in January. She had also missed the trials for the Commonwealth Games last year.

BAI had directly selected double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu (World No. 11), HS Prannoy (world no. 9), men’s pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (World No. 6) and women’s combination of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand (world no. 19) for the Asian Games “based on their placing in the BWF Top 20 ranking list as on April 18”.

The national federation had come out with a list of players for the Asian Games selection trials on April 22, setting April 28 as the deadline for confirmation.

World championships silver and bronze medallists Kidambi Srikanth (World No. 23) and Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen (World No. 24), Orleans Masters Super 300 winner Priyanshu Rajawat, national champion Mithun Manjunath and Tokyo Olympian B Sai Praneeth are among the nine men’s singles players, who will have to fight it out in the trials.

In women’s singles, Aakarshi Kashyap, Malvika Bansod, Ashmita Chaliha, Unnati Hooda will be among the women’s singles shuttlers present in the trials. As many as three players will be selected for men’s singles and women’s singles, while two mixed doubles pair and one men’s doubles and one women’s doubles pair will be picked from the trials.

List of Players for Asian Games 2023 selection trials:

Men’s Singles

Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, Priyanshu Rajawat, Mithun Manjunath, Sai Praneeth, Maisnam Meiraba, Bharat Raghav, Ansal Yadav, Siddhant Gupta

Women’s Singles

Aakrshi Kashyap, Malvika Bansod, Ashmita Chaliha, Aditi Bhat, Unnati Hooda, Alisha Naik, Shriyanshi Valishetty, Anupama Upadhyay

Men’s Doubles

MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila, Krishna Prasad/Vishuvardhan, Suraj Goala/Pruthvi Roy, Nithin HV/Sai Pratheek.

Women’s Doubles

Ashwini Bhat/Shikha Gautham, Tanisha Crasto/Ashwini Ponnappa, Radhika Sharma/Tanvi Sharma

Mixed Doubles

Rohan Kapoor/Sikki Reddy, Sai Pratheek/Tanisha Crasto, Hariharan/Varshini, Hemagendra Babu/Kanika Kanwal.

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