Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal pulled out of the prestigious Asian Badminton Championship scheduled to be held in Korea next week.
Saina, who won a bronze at the 2010 Asian meet, will concentrate on the Thomas and Uber Cups to be held in New Delhi next month. Now, the Indian challenge will be lead by PV Sindhu at the continental meet.
Confirming Saina’s absence, chief coach of the Indian team, Pullela Gopichand said that the decision to rest Saina was taken earlier. “We wanted her to work hard for the Uber Cup. It’s a prestigious tournament for us as we are hosting it. She will get a lot of time to practice and as she is our leading player so we are expecting lot from her,” Gopichand said.
Gopi said that the poor form of Saina has nothing to do with her absence. “Her form has nothing to do with the pullout. We wanted to give her some rest, nothing else,” he said, adding that the ace shuttler will be back to her best soon.
“With five weeks of good practice she will be back. There’s nothing wrong with her game or with the level of preparation or hard work. As of now nothing is clicking for her, many athletes go through this phase. Her moment will come sooner than later,” he added.
The former All England champion, who had preferred to stay with Saina than go with the team to Korea, said that the draw is a bit tough for the Indians. “Our players got a tough draw. But after the way they played at Singapore, I am expecting some good results this time,” Gopi said.