On Day Three of the ongoing Senior National Badminton Championship, defending champion Saina Nehwal's match began with a controversy. It was her decision to withdraw to play her singles match, citing a "poor playing surface" at the venue. Olympic bronze-medallist Saina took the court following Sameer Verma's contest wherein the shuttler conceded his men's singles tie following an achilles heels problem during his tie.
In line to face Shruti Mundada in the pre-quarters, Saina had a look at the surface and immediately made it clear that she won't risk playing on it given that the All England Championship was around the corner.
The officials, led by Badminton Association of India Secretary (event) Omar Rashid, came into the picture following Saina's revelation. The BAI officials later convinced Saina, Kashyap and Sai Praneeth to play in the evening.
Saina's husband and shuttler Parupalli Kashyap said, "The wooden planks came out at a couple of places after Sindhu played her match. So they are now going to fix it. We will come back in the evening to play our pre-quarterfinal matches."
The championship is being played on three courts at the Assam Badminton Academy.
PV Sindhu, on the other hand, had competed on the same court in the morning, clinching a straight-game win over Malvika Bansod in the women's singles pre-quarterfinals.
Rashid said BAI will fix the courts and also make arrangements in the cement courts at the Tarun Ram Phookan indoor stadium. "The surface became uneven at a couple of places, so three players have refused to play. We will fix the problem here and also make arrangements in the indoor stadium. It is upto them where they want to play. They have agreed to play the pre-quarterfinals in the evening. The rest of the players will play both their pre-quarters and quarters today itself," he added.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega