India's top shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are set to return to action for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, in January 2021. The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has announced an eight-member Indian team, which will participate in the upcoming three tournaments in Bangkok.
Joining PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will be Ashwini Ponnappa, B Sai Praneeth, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, N Sikki Reddy, and former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth. The Indian badminton contingent will participate in the Yonex Thailand Open from January 12-17, followed by the Toyota Thailand Open (January 19-24), and the BWF World Tour Finals (January 27-31).
PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal aim to make a mark ahead of Olympic qualifiers
The Rio Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu, who last played at the All England Open, couldn't go past the quarter-finals of any event this year. The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal played in only five tournaments this year. Her best performances were at the Malaysia Masters and the Spain Masters, where she bowed out in the quarter-finals. Both will aim to make a grand return to the tour in January.
BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania spoke to the media where he expressed his happiness at the sport returning after a long gap.
"We are very happy to see badminton finally getting back on the court. It gives us hope that tournaments can eventually make a steady comeback in near future. Most of our players haven't played tournaments in the last 7-8 months."
Singhania noted that sending a full-strength squad would lead to much-need practice for the players ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.
“However, they have been training to the best of their abilities at the camp. The purpose of sending a full-strength team in these tournaments is that players can get the much-needed tournament practice ahead of the Olympic qualifiers,” he added.Published 22 Dec 2020, 13:41 IST