Saina wants to skip Asia Team Championship, BAI reluctant

Saina Nehwal 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.

Saina Nehwal has been named alongside P.V. Sindhu, Krishna Priya and Ruthvika Gaade in the women’s team for the Asian Championships.   -  PTI

Saina Nehwal wants to skip next month’s Asia Team Championship to prepare for the All England Championship but the Badminton Association of India (BAI) is trying to convince the Indian ace to play the event, which also serves as a qualifier for prestigious Uber Cup.

London Olympics bronze medallist Saina, who is currently playing at the Indonesia Masters after recovering from an 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.

However, BAI is trying to convince Saina to modify her training program and accommodate the tournament in her schedule.

Read: Kidambi Srikanth pulls out of Indonesia Masters

“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 Anup Narang told PTI.

“So I am writing to Saina, requesting her to consider revising her training program so that she is able to play since it is a matter of national pride.

“I understand she has come out of an injury and she is preparing for All England but my only request to the players is that they can schedule their training program in such a way that they can play in these important events,” he added.

The Asia Team Championship will serve as a qualification tournament for the Thomas and Uber Cups Finals to be held at Bangkok from May 20-27.

To ensure that India qualifies for the prestigious tournament, BAI decided to field a formidable line-up for this year’s edition.

Also read: BAI to take a call on national championship after discussing with players

BAI named Saina, P.V. Sindhu alongwith youngsters Krishna Priya and Ruthvika Shivani Gaade in the women’s team for the Asian Championships, which will be decided on three singles and two doubles.

Indian women’s team has reached the semifinals in the 2014 and 2016 editions of the Uber Cup.

The USD 1,000,000 All England Championship, a BWF World Tour Super 1000 event, will be held at Birmingham from March 14 to 18.