New Delhi: India on Friday announced the withdrawal of its women's badminton team from the upcoming Badminton Asia Championships owing to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. The tournament is scheduled to be held in Manila, the Philippines from February 11 to 16.
The Badminton Association of India, however, said that the men's team will participate in the tournament.
"Unforeseen health hazard apprehension due to the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in withdrawal of the women's team for the upcoming Badminton Asian Championships, which is starting from Feb 11-16, 2020 in Manila, Philippines," BAI secretary general Ajay Kumar Singhania said in a statement.
"Badminton Association of India (BAI) had reached out to the concerned authorities in Badminton Asia (BA) for assurances regarding the current situation and necessary health advisory and precautionary measures taken.
"After receiving complete assurances from BA, BAI had discussed the same with the Indian squad, the men's team agreed to travel and confirmed their participation, however, the women's team was withdrawn owing to concerns showed by parents and players," Singhania said.
The women's team was supposed to be led by young shuttlers Ashmita Chaliha and Malvika Bansod after Olympic medallists Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu decided to give the event a miss.
Saina and Sindhu decided to skip the event to focus on Olympic qualification.
The men's team will leave for Manila on February 9 and BAI have fielded a full-strength men's team including World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Subhankar Dey and Lakshya Sen. In form men's doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will also participate in the tournament.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)