It has been a mixed fortnight for Chirag Shetty (Mumbai) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (Andhra Pradesh). After becoming the first men’s doubles pair together in the Indian badminton history to receive the prestigious Arjuna Award on August 29, things have not gone well as they would have liked.
Satwiksairaj was tested Covid-19 positive and has been under home quarantine at his Amalapuram residence in Andhra Pradesh for the last two weeks.
After serving the necessary Covid-19 quarantine period, Satwiksairaj was again tested and luckily he was found Covid-19 negative on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old is expecting another detailed report about his health in the next few days which will determine his further course of action.
Due to Satwiksairaj’s illness, the national selectors did not consider him and his partner Chirag for the Thomas Cup selection.
The biennial tournament will be held at Aarhus in Denmark from October 3 to 11 which will mark the resumption of Badminton World Federation’s international calendar.
While Satwiksairaj has been stuck at home due to his illness, Chirag also could not join the national camp in Hyderabad. The 23-year-old has been training at the Uday Pawar Badminton Academy at Goregaon Sports Club in Mumbai for the last few weeks.
Both Chirag and Satwik are likely to join the national camp next week.
In another disappointing news for the fans of Chirag and Satwik, the world No. 10 duo has decided to pull out of the Denmark Open I and Denmark Open II which will be held immediately after the Thomas and Uber Cup at Odense. Since they have not played together since the All England Championship in March, they have decided to skip the entire Denmark leg after the discussion with chief national coach Pullela Gopichand.
“Since both of us are not in Hyderabad we called Gopi Sir and he advised that we should first train together for at least a couple of weeks and then participate in any competition. So after a thorough discussion with Gopi Sir we are not rushing now into the tournaments,” said Chirag.
The top doubles pair of India will now restart their campaign with the Asian leg of the tournament slated to be held in November.
“We will get an ample time to prepare ourselves for the international grind. We will train hard once we both reach Hyderabad. Although we are a little bit disappointed with not being able to participate in three tournaments in Denmark, we will try to make up for it with some solid performance in the Asian leg,” said Chirag, the taller of the two.
In November, BWF is planning to hold three back-to-back tournaments in Asia including the season ending BWF World Tour Finals. The Asia Open I and Asia Open II will be BWF World Tour Super 1000 events. The venue of Asian leg tournaments is yet to be announced.
The BWF is working with different member associations to explore the feasibility of staging the Asian leg tournaments and a final announcement is expected soon to allow all participants to plan their respective travel arrangements.