World Championships 2019 bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth has said he will not be taking part at the Thomas Cup tournament in Denmark that marks badminton’s restart, reported the Times of India.
A few days after India’s contingent received a boost in terms of PV Sindhu’s decision to participate at the event starting from October 3 in Aarhus, Sai Praneeth has said his lack of full fitness makes it impossible for him to play at the prestigious team tournament.
“Sad that I am not going be part of the Indian squad for the Thomas Cup. But I am experiencing discomfort in my right knee. Though I started training from August 7, this problem is persisting. That’s the reason why I pulled out of Thomas Cup,” Sai Praneeth told the Times of India.
But Sai Praneeth said that he was looking to feature in the Asian leg of the BWF World Tour after the European events in Denmark (three scheduled). India No 1 Sai Praneeth was ranked 13th in the world before the events came to a halt. He is also the highest-ranked Indian in the race to Tokyo Olympics.
“Most probably I would be competing in the Asian leg events in November. I need to take care of my fitness as I have to perform well in the Olympic qualification events scheduled to be held from January,” the 28-year-old added.
Indian men and women’s teams have been handed relatively easy draws in the twice-rescheduled Thomas and Uber Cup Finals slated to be held from October 3 to 11 in Aarhus, Denmark. Both teams didn’t reach the knockout stage in the last edition in 2018. The Indian women’s team had lost to champions China in the semi-final stage in the 2016 edition of Uber Cup. They also reached the semi-final in the 2014 New Delhi edition.
On Tuesday, it was confirmed that Thailand have withdrawn from badminton’s Thomas and Uber Cup Finals after former world champion Ratchanok Intanon and other players pulled out over coronavirus fears, an official and her coach said.
Chinese Taipei – the team of women’s world number one Tai Tzu-ying – and Australia are also skipping the tournaments, which will be played in a bio-secure ‘bubble’ in Denmark in October, the Badminton World Federation said. Replacement teams have not been announced.
The twice-postponed Thomas and Uber Cup finals, the men’s and women’s world team championships, will be the first international tournaments since the pandemic brought badminton to a halt in March.
Draw (made on August 3):
THOMAS CUP (MEN):
Group C: Denmark, India, Germany and Algeria.
UBER CUP (WOMEN):
Group D: China, India, France and Germany.
(With PTI and AFP inputs)
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