The defending champion Saina Nehwal refused to play her singles match at the Senior National Badminton Championships on Thursday, claiming a ‘poor playing surface’ at the venue in Guwahati.
The Olympic bronze-medallist Saina, who suffered an injury late last year, took the court after Sameer Verma conceded his men’s singles tie following an Achilles heel problem during his match.
Update: Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu expectedly sailed into the semifinals with two straight-game wins, while defending champion Saina Nehwal entered the quarters after winning a late pre-quarterfinal match on a day of intense drama at the 83rd Senior National Badminton Championship on Thursday.
When Saina Refused to Play
Saina was to play against Shruti Mundada in the pre-quarterfinals but refused to play after having a look at the surface. She immediately made it clear that she won’t risk playing on it given that the All England Championships are around the corner.
Omar Rashid, the leading official, and other officials of the Badminton Association of India Secretary for the event swung into action to sort out the issue.
Later Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and Sai Praneeth were convinced by the BAI officials to play in the evening.
Update: Saina Nehwal and P Kashyap’s matches postponed to 10 pm at TRP stadium. Sai Praneeth has decided to play on the controversial Assam Badminton Academy courts as he did not want to wait that long. #SeniorNationals2019 pic.twitter.com/dQ9bG6efBx
— Badminton Nation (@BadmintonNation) February 14, 2019
Nehwal’s husband, Parupalli Kashyap said that the wooden planks had come out at a few places after Sindhu played her match. He further said that they will come back in the evening to play their pre-quarterfinals after the fixation is done.
The championships are being played on three courts at the Assam Badminton Academy.
Kashyap was there to play his men’s singles pre-quarterfinal match. He went to the adjacent second court to inspect along with Nehwal.
P. V. Sindhu had competed on the same court in the morning, clinching a straight-game 21-11 21-13 win over Malvika Bansod in the women’s singles pre-quarterfinals.
BAI to Fix the Courts Soon
The leading official Rashid confirmed that the BAI will fix the courts and also make arrangements on the cement courts at the Tarun Ram Phookan Indoor Stadium.
He talked about the uneven surface and the refusal of three players to play on it. Therefore, they will fix the problem.
He added “It is up to them where they want to play. They have agreed to play the pre-quarterfinals in the evening. The rest of the players will play both their pre-quarters and quarters today itself.”
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