Hindustan Times (East UP)

India Open postponed, Saina’s Tokyo hopes hit

- HT Correspond­ent sportsdesk@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: The country’s biggest badminton tournament, the $400,000 India Open, was postponed for the second year running due to the surge in Covid-19 cases across the national capital and elsewhere in India. Scheduled at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall here from May 11-16, the Super 500 event was postponed indefinite­ly following an exponentia­l surge in positive cases.

“It is unfortunat­e but after consultati­on with the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and the Delhi government we have decided to postpone the tournament,” Badminton Associatio­n of India (BAI) secretary general Ajay Singhania said in a virtual conference on Monday. Fresh dates will be announced by BWF later. “The Delhi government has announced a lockdown for the next six days. We are not sure what the future holds. The (Covid) numbers are just too high. Whenever it is suitable we will hold the tournament again.”

The India Open was one of the last Tokyo Olympics qualifying events. Even if it is reschedule­d, it will be impossible to organise it during the Olympic qualifying window. The decision thus makes the Race to Tokyo tougher for Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, among others, as there will be one less qualifying event. “A shame but probably the right decision,” tweeted Danish world No.2 Viktor Axelsen.

Several top players, including Spanish women’s Olympic champion Carolina Marin and Thailand’s former world champion Ratchanok Intanon had pulled out before Monday.

Jeremy likely to qualify

India’s Jeremy Lalrinnung­a finished eighth in 67kg at the Asian Weightlift­ing Championsh­ips in Tashkent on Monday. He lifted 139kg in snatch and 163kg in clean and jerk for a total of 302kg. Though he was 4kg short of her personal best, coach Vijay Sharma said he should make the cut for Tokyo Olympics on continenta­l rankings. “He will qualify through continenta­l berth. Jeremy and Saudi Arabian lifter Mohammed Almazyadi were in contention for Tokyo Olympics berth. Jeremy had 3200 robi points, 500 points ahead of the Saudi Arabian. Both have lifted 302kg today and therefore Jeremy should qualify through rankings,” said coach Vijay Sharma.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India