Nothing seems to be going well for B Sai Praneeth since the Tokyo Olympics. Indian ace midfielder Sai Praneeth was eager to get back in shape and perform well at the Indian Open in New Delhi.
Luckily though, Sai Praneeth tested positive for COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the India Open Super 500 season opener on Monday.
This is the latest setback for Sai, whose progress on the international circuit has been hampered by a back injury and continued pain since the quadrennial mega Games.
Just as he was looking to get past it and focus on the Indian leg of the BWF calendar, the pandemic made his task even worse.
Under the watchful eye of National Badminton Head Coach Pullela Gopichand, Sai Praneeth has trained hard for the past few months in Hyderabad. The 29-year-old is understandably disappointed to have missed the opportunity to play at the Indian Open.
“Of course I am very disappointed because I have prepared well for the past three weeks for the Indian Open,” Sai Praneeth told Sportskeeda on Monday. “It was a good opportunity to perform well and regain some confidence, but yeah, I can’t. do something about it”.
Sai Praneeth received the second seed and was determined to stop his series of poor results at the Indian Open. The former World Championship bronze medalist was scheduled to face 64th-ranked Spaniard Luís Enrique Peñalver in the first round. However, he tested positive in Hyderabad one day before traveling to New Delhi.
“Luck is not favoring me these days” – Sai Praneeth
Sai Praneeth blamed luck for his poor performance in recent months. After back pain plagued him for several months, the pandemic added to his miseries.
“Luck is not favoring me these days,” Sai Praneeth lamented. “I had good contact in practice and I felt good about my game. But I tested positive for RT-PCR which thwarted my plans. I have had a cold and cough for the past few days. I am isolated at home.
Sai Praneeth is scheduled to play in the Syed Modi India International 2022 World Tour Super 300 tournament to be played in Lucknow from January 18 to 23.
However, he is still not sure if he will be able to play in Lucknow.
“I will have to wait at least a week before testing again,” he said. “I’m not sure if I can play in the Syed Modi tournament or not because it’s only next week. I’ll take the call later depending on my recovery.
After the Syed Modi International, there is another international tournament in India, the Odisha Open, which will start in Cuttack on January 25th. But Sai will not participate in it.
“I’m not playing at the Odisha Open,” he said. “It is an important year and there is almost no time to get back in shape. I hope I can get back to court quickly. I want to do well this year after a not so good last year.
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Sai Praneeth and his wife Swetha were blessed with a baby on November 14, 2021. The midfielder was playing for India in the Sudirman Cup and the Thomas Cup in Denmark when he first became a father.
Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee