Saina Nehwal out of 12th South Asian Games
In a major blow to India’s chances at the 12th South Asian Games (SAG), World No. 2 Saina Nehwal is the latest big name to pull out of this multi-sporting event to be held in Guwahati and Shillong from February 5. Nehwal joins Parupalli Kashyap on the sidelines, who was earlier ruled out due to an abdominal strain he suffered from at the recently-concluded Syed Modi International tournament.
When contacted, the Shillong organizers of the SAG confirmed that the Badminton Association of India (BAI) had already intimated them of Kashyap and Nehwal’s unavailability.
“We’ve received a communication from BAI stating that the entire badminton squad except for Saina and Kashyap is arriving tomorrow afternoon,” SAG (Shillong) joint CEO FR Kharkongor said.
In their absence, doubles exponent Jwala Gutta will be leading the team at the badminton event which is slated to be held from February 6-10 at SAI-SAG Centre, NEHU Campus, Multipurpose Hall in Shillong.
With the Rio Olympics just six months away, it is understandable that Nehwal’s primary focus is the mega quadrennial event and she does not want to hamper her fitness in any way. The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist had been dealing with a foot injury since the end of November due to which her participation was limited at the Premier Badminton League in January.
To give herself more time to recover from it and from a recurrent bout of fever, she even had to withdraw from the Syed Modi International where she was the defending champion. Saina is expected to be back in action next week at the Thailand Masters where she is the top seed.