The Badminton Association of India (BAI) are in touch with their Malaysian counterparts to get the Indian contingent to take part at the upcoming Malaysia Open (May 25-30), following a temporary ban on Indian flights as coronavirus cases surge in the country.
Among the alternatives the BAI are working on is to get the Indian contingent to travel to Kuala Lumpur via Sri Lanka or Doha, as direct flights from India are halted for the moment.
The biggest priority is for the likes of K. Srikanth and Saina Nehwal to make it to Malaysia to boost their hopes of making it to the Tokyo Games in July.
“We have already submitted the travel documents of our Olympic bound players and officials for visa processing. We are in touch with the Member Associations of Malaysia for the necessary documentation.
“There is a 14-day quarantine guideline for Malaysia, which means our players have to reach Malaysia on May 10 to follow the protocols,” said BAI in a statement.
Srikanth and Saina are especially desperate to make it to Malaysia, as they already face an uphill task to make the Olympics as it stands.
Saina is currently 22nd on the Olympic rankings, while Srikanth is 20th. Both shuttlers need to be in the top 16 to make the cut to the Tokyo Games.
Srikanth, for one, is looking forward to making it for the Super 750 event, which is one of the two final tournaments offering qualifying points.
“I probably have to play a semi-final or a couple of quarter-finals in the qualifiers to make it. I’m feeling good, so it is about going there and giving my best,” Srikanth told Times of India.
As of now, the Malaysia Open is set to go ahead with fans in attendance.
The provisional players list also revealed a star-studded cast, including Kento Momota, Viktor Axelsen, Chen Long and Carolina Marin.