Malaysia Open put off; Saina, Srikanth's Tokyo 2020 hopes over?

Malaysia Open 2021 logo

KUALA LUMPUR: Tournament organisers Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and Badminton World Federation have jointly agreed to postpone the CELCOM AXIATA Malaysia Open 2021, scheduled for 25-30 May.

All attempts were made by the organisers and BWF to provide a safe tournament environment for all participants, but the recent surge in Covid-19 cases left no choice but to postpone the Super 750 tournament, one of badminton's last two Olympic qualifying events.

The $ 600,000 CELCOM AXIATA Malaysia Open 2021 is a Super 750 event on the HSBC BWF World Tour and was originally scheduled as an Olympic qualifying tournament.

The BWF stated: "BWF can confirm the rescheduled tournament will no longer take place in the Olympic qualifying window. New tournament dates will be confirmed at a later date."

The decision as good as ends London Olympics Bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal and men's star Srikanth's last hopes of Olympic qualification. As too that of the women's doubles pair of N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa.

Following the postponement of the India Open (May 11-16), Saina and Srikanth's qualification for the Tokyo Games hinged on the Kuala Lumpur event followed by the Singapore Open (June 1-6).

The Indian duo will NOT be able to travel to Singapore as the country has suspended all flights from COVID-ravaged India.

Indian shuttlers who have already made the cut for the Olympics include PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth and the men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.