Indian shuttlers, including former world No 1 Saina Nehwal, on Friday questioned the rationale behind scheduling 22 events in just five months in a revised BWF calendar, arguing that it puts them in injury risk. PTI reported.
The Badminton World Federation unveiled a revised international calendar to salvage the remainder of the season, disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Twenty two events in 5 months is extremely tough on the players. Firstly, there is a question mark on international guidelines and how quarantine will happen.
“Don’t know how they came up with this when the travel restrictions are still in place. We all want to get back to sport but there are lot of question mark now, we haven’t yet started practice yet,” P Kashyap told PTI.
London Olympics bronze medallist Nehwal tweeted: “22 tournaments in 5 months from August to December 2020…5 months non stop travel … biggest question is what are the international guidelines of travelling during this #coronavirus pandemic (sic)??”
“Tennis didn’t even come out with any plan till October,” she wrote in another tweet.
B Sai Praneeth, who is front-runner in qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, was equally unimpressed. “It is stupid to expect players to play 22 tournaments in five months. They are not thinking about players. BWF president is an Olympic champion, so they should have thought how can players play week after week.
“Even a fit player can’t play so many tournaments, it will surely lead to injuries. I didn’t expect this from BWF.
“People are thinking of travelling less in these times, it seems BWF didn’t think whether players can play or not, they are just thinking about themselves. They should have realised the Olympic qualification criteria instead of the schedule. There is still no clarity, why we will play so many tournaments, right now everyone is thinking about Olympics, and how will they count ranking.”
Doubles specialist Chirag Shetty also slammed the BWF revamped calendar.
“I was taken by surprise that there are 22 tournaments in five months. All of them are the ones we usually play. From September till December not a single week is left out. Even last year, we played 17-18 [tournaments]; we played all 500, 750 and 1000 and two 300 events, even if we do that in the months to come, we have to play every week. It is stupid. They should have given some break,” he said.
“Also, Syed Modi event is colliding with Indonesia Super 1000, both are in the same week. So for us, we won’t be able to play our home tournament because we can’t miss a 1000 event, so it is plain stupidity. They shouldn’t have crammed up so many tournament.”
Shetty added: “I don’t think India will start international travel anytime soon, so it confuses the players. I don’t think there is any clarity. They could have taken more time to decide. Main thing is how they will unfreeze ranking and Olympic qualification,” he asked.
The top Indian shuttlers train at the P Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.
“We will have to wait till May 31. We will go by the central and state government directives. As of now, Telengana government has extended the lockdown till May 31 and no sports is allowed in any stadiums,” Chief national coach Gopichand said.