At 83rd Senior National Badminton Championship, Saina refuses to play on ‘poor playing surface’

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The controversy arose in the National Badminton Superior Championship on February 14, and defending champion Saina Nehwal refused to play her singles match, citing a “poor playing surface” in Guwahati’s place.

Olympic bronze medalist Saina, who suffered a shin injury late last year, entered the field after Sameer Verma acknowledged the singles draw of his men after a problem in the heel during his game.

Against Shruti Mundada in the previous quarters, Saina took a look at the surface and immediately made it clear that she would not risk playing, since the All England Championship was just around the corner.

Officials, led by the Secretary of the Indian Badminton Association (event) Omar Rashid, took action to solve the problem. Later they convinced Saina, Parupalli Kashyap and Sai Praneeth to play at night.
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P.V. Sindhu plays a warm-up game before the 83rd Badminton National Superior Championship in Guwahati.

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“The wooden boards came out in a couple of places after Sindhu played his match. So now they’re going to fix it. “We will be back at night to play our pre-quarter-final matches,” said Saina’s husband and fellow player Parupalli Kashyap.

The championship is played on three courts at the Badminton Academy in Assam.

Kashyap, who was going to play his singles match before the quarterfinals, went to the second adjacent court and inspected it together with Saina.

Sindhu competed in the same court in the morning, achieving a victory per consecutive match over Malvika Bansod in the singles quarterfinals.

Mr. Rashid said the BAI would fix the courts and make arrangements on the cement courts at the Tarun Ram Phookan indoor stadium.

“The surface became irregular in a couple of places, so three players have refused to play. “We will solve the problem here and we will also make arrangements in the indoor stadium,” he said.

“It’s up to them where they want to play, they’ve agreed to play the quarterfinals before the night.” The rest of the players will play their quarter-quarters before today, “he added.