Indian badminton players’ participation in the upcoming Malaysia Open and Singapore Open is under serious threat with countries imposing travel ban on India given the severe Covid-19 crisis due to the second wave. Malaysia Open is the last major event in the Tokyo Olympics qualification calendar, which means that not being able to participate puts Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal’s chances of making the top 16 of the men’s and women’s Race to Tokyo rankings in jeopardy. Srikanth is currently 20th on the standings while Saina is 22nd.
Based on the current situation, here is BAI responding to a few pertinent questions:
Q: Is BAI in touch with BWF or the Host Federations to resolve the Indian Shuttlers travel and what has been their response?
A: Considering the current travel restrictions, Badminton Association of India (BAI) has written to the respective Associations of Malaysia and Singapore for clarity on what will be the exact regulations that will be applied to Indian Shuttlers while they arrive in these respective countries.
Currently as per the laid-out guidelines, for any Indian to enter Singapore, they have to either be in quarantine in a foreign country other than India for 14 days before they will be allowed to enter Singapore alternatively, all players have to maintain a 21 days quarantine in Singapore. As for Malaysia, for now, there are 14 days quarantine guideline which means, our players have to reach Malaysia on May 10, 2021, to follow the protocols laid out by both countries. We have also reached out to Malaysian Federation to understand if there are any updated quarantine rules that will be imposed on Indian players.
Both the Member Associations and BWF are cooperating and we are in constant touch.
Q: With Visa Ban on Indians by these countries, how will our players get their Visa?
A: We have already submitted the travel documents of our Olympic-bound and Olympic Probable players ( PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth, Chirag Shetty, Satwik, Saina Nehwal, Srikanth, Ashwini Ponnappa, and Sikki Reddy) and officials for Visa processing. Though there is a ban on the issue of Visa for Indians except for Sports-related travel activities, Visa is available on certain terms and conditions. We are in touch with the Member Associations of Malaysia & Singapore for the necessary documentation.
Q: Will Indian Players be able to travel directly from India to Malaysia and Singapore?
A: No with the current travel restrictions Indian players will not be able to take direct flights. We have checked for via routes and the alternatives are either from Sri Lanka or from Doha and Indian Shuttlers are most likely to travel via Qatar.