Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty has pulled out of the India Open to provide themselves more time to achieve full fitness and hit top form ahead of the Tokyo Olympic qualification.
With Satwik suffering a shoulder injury late last year, the Indian duo had to skip the tournaments in Malaysia, Indonesia and All England but they had planned to start their new season at home with the India Open, beginning on Tuesday.
The duo had also send their entries for events in Malaysia and Singapore next month but after consulting the physio, they decided to miss the three events.
“Satwik has recovered from his injury but he will only start playing full on in another two weeks, so after consulting the physio we decided to skip the events,” said Chirag.
The 2020 Olympic qualification period starts on April 29 with the Badminton World Federation using its rankings list, which is scheduled to be published on April 30 next year, to allocate spots.
“The Olympic qualification begins next month and we need to be in our absolute best to pursue our dreams of making the cut for the Tokyo Games. So we will be beginning our season with the New Zealand Open World Tour Super 300,” Chirag said.
“There is Sudirman Cup and Australia Open next, so in a month’s time we will play three tournaments, so we will be focusing on that now.”
Talking about his injury, Satwik said: “Before PBL, I had suffered a shoulder injury during training. I didn’t know it was so serious. I played PBL and it aggravated. I came to know later that it was a hairline fracture. So I missed the Nationals and All England.
“But I’m just happy that I can achieve fitness and start playing before the Olympic qualification kicks in late April.”
The duo are also getting accustomed with the new training regime devised by specialist doubles coaches Flandy Limpele and Namrih Suroto from Indonesia, who joined the camp following the exit of Malaysian Tan Kim Her.
“The sessions are pretty tough. In a month’s time we will get used to it. The Indonesian training is lot different,” Chirag said.
“The focus is to achieve agility, he wants us to be more fit and move faster on court, so lots of on-court sessions and less time in gym. There is also multi-feed training two times a week.”
Satwik and Chirag played a vital role in India’s maiden team gold at Commonwealth Games, where they also claimed the country’s first men’s doubles individual silver medal.
The duo also clinched their maiden Super 100 event at Hyderabad Open and reached the finals of a Super 300 at Syed Modi tournament in Lucknow.
They also reached semifinals at Indonesia Masters Super 500 and French Open and quarters at China Super 750 and earned a career-best ranking of world no 16 in December.
Satwik said the target would be to break into the top 10 this season. “It was a pretty good year for us. We are now planning to get into top 10 by year end. I think we are almost there in the top. There are just few little changes which we have to make and we can be soon be in the top 10,” he said.