Saina Nehwal to miss BWF World Championships 2021 due to injury

The former Indian world No. 1 has never missed a world championship since making her debut at the marquee event in 2006.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by 2015 Getty Images

London 2012 bronze medallist Saina Nehwal has pulled out of the BWF World Championships 2021 badminton event, which is set to be held in Huelva, Spain, from December 12 to 19, due to injuries.

This will be the first time Saina Nehwal will be not participating in the marquee badminton event in 12 editions since making her world championship debut in 2006.

The Indian ace won the silver medal at the world championships in 2015 and clinched a bronze in the 2017 edition. Saina Nehwal has also made the quarter-finals at the event on eight different occasions.

“Saina had to withdraw from the world championship as she is still recovering from the groin and a knee injury. She won’t be able to regain fitness in time to play the tournament,” Saina Nehwal’s husband and fellow Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap told news agency PTI.

Saina Nehwal, a former world No. 1, has been struggling with injuries since winning the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal. Over the past two years, the Hyderabadi shuttler missed several tournaments due to various injuries and ailments.

The 31-year-old Saina Nehwal’s constant layoffs played a role in her missing the cut for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which already had a curtailed qualification window due to COVID-19.

“She is naturally a bit upset, especially since it has been tough two years for her, she has been getting injured too often, there were niggles, stomach issues, I mean, something or other has been happening,” Parupalli Kashyap said.

“But it is a phase and she has to work around it. She can play for two-three years, I feel. She is a positive person and Saina will figure things out,” Kashyap added.

In her latest bout with injuries, Saina Nehwal sustained a groin injury in October during her first Thomas and Uber Cup Final match against Spain’s Clara Azurmendi in Denmark. The Indian was forced to retire as a result.

Saina Nehwal recovered to play in the Denmark Open but was forced to withdraw again in the opening round at the French Open after suffering a knee injury. Her groin injury had also aggravated during the tournament.

Olympian quarterfinalist Kashyap, who has had his own troubles with injuries in recent years, informed that Saina Nehwal is doing her rehabilitation now and is expected to be back to training later in the month.

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