Indian badminton stars happy with BWF’s new Olympic qualifying criteria

With the current rankings frozen and a new qualification period announced, some Indian shuttlers are in the perfect position to qualify.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Wednesday announced that January-April 2021 would serve as the extended qualification period for the Tokyo Olympics next year.

It also added that the ranking points earned before the season put on hold would still be maintained in the ‘Race to Tokyo’ rankings.

The update means that Rio 2016 silver medallist PV Sindhu, ranked seventh with 70,754 points is in prime position to make the Tokyo Olympics cut as is B Sai Praneeth, currently sitting 13th with 51,527 points.

“It’s a good call,” Sai Praneeth told the Olympic Channel. “We can now think of just getting back and start training accordingly.”

The Indian badminton player added that he will only play a few remaining tournaments to hold his place until the cut-off date of April 25, 2021.

B Sai Praneeth sits 13th in the 'Race to Tokyo' rankings table
B Sai Praneeth sits 13th in the 'Race to Tokyo' rankings tableB Sai Praneeth sits 13th in the 'Race to Tokyo' rankings table

Another category in which India are close to sealing a Tokyo Olympics berth is in the men’s doubles.

The pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy is currently sitting in ninth place in the ‘Race to Tokyo’ table with 57,500 points, and the update holds the duo in good stead.

“The planning doesn’t change at all. For us, it was the right decision,” Chirag Shetty told the Olympic Channel.

“Everyone had been working hard in the past year before everything stalled with a month and a half left in the qualification period,” he pointed out.

Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are primed to make their Olympics debut at Tokyo 
Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are primed to make their Olympics debut at Tokyo Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy are primed to make their Olympics debut at Tokyo 

Having missed the All England Open as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, the duo fell out of the direct qualification zone of top eight.

And Chirag Shetty aims to finish inside that before the cut-off date.

“Our target primarily is to get into the top eight so that we get a better draw at the Tokyo Olympics,” the 22-year-old Indian badminton player said.

“We were looking to play some major three or four tournaments in the remaining period like the Singapore Open,” he added.

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