CHENNAI: The just-concluded Denmark Open marked the return of badminton. Among Indians, Kidambi Srikanth made an impression before going down in a hard-fought contest in the quarterfinals.
Young Lakshya Sen began with promise before falling short in the second round. Now, the focus has shifted to SaarLorLux Open in Germany.
As per the tournament entry list, there are 10 Indians including Lakshya, the defending champion in men’s singles. But it is learnt that only three including Lakshya, who’s currently staying at an academy in Denmark, will be part of the BWF Super 100 event scheduled from October 27 to November 1.
Barring Lakshya, Subhankar Dey and Ajay Jayaram (Denmark Open participants), others have been forced to withdraw from the $90,000 event in Saarbrucken as there were complications with regards to visa.
Mithun Manjunath, who trains at Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) in Bengaluru, is among those who were forced to pull out. “Around five players (from PPBA) were supposed to go for the event, but couldn’t get the visa. Their entries were revoked,” Mithun’s father Manjunath told this daily.
Kiran George, Alap Mishra, Chirag Sen and Ira Sharma are others from the academy who suffered a similar fate. “We sent the entries but we were told by agents that we can’t apply.
The person who got us visa for Denmark Open said that the person from the German Embassy was not responding. There were plenty of complications because of the ongoing pandemic. Hence, the players were forced to withdraw,” a PPBA official explained.
The shuttlers from PPBA have withdrawn from another meet in Portugal (Nov 5-8). While they were able to pull out on time for Portugal, they were late for the Germany meet.
The last day for withdrawal without penalty was October 5. That means the shuttlers might have to pay a fine as per BWF (world body) statutes.
“Shuttlers were hoping to go until the last minute. These are challenging times and there’s so much uncertainty. We’ll write to BWF, requesting them to waive off fines,” the PPBA official said. Europe has been witnessing a record number of Covid-19 cases in recent days. France and Germany have come up with new protocols as part of combat measures.
“They are not even accepting some players who’ve the visa. If the embassy is not allowing us to travel, it becomes difficult,” a Badminton Association of India official said, confirming the withdrawals.