New Delhi: His repeated requests for rehabilitation ignored, Commonwealth Games gold-medallist P Kashyap has been left flummoxed after being sent air tickets to join the Indian badminton squad at the South Asian Games despite being laid low by an abdominal strain.
Once the world number eight, Kashyap has been dogged by injuries and his ranking slipped to 14 in the latest chart. With 12 weeks left to earn a berth for the Rio Olympics, the Indian shuttler is racing against time to even be fit for competing in the tournaments crucial to fetch qualifying points.
Kashyap had already written a letter to Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the Ministry, requesting that he be allowed to skip the the South Asian Games.
"I lost out a lot of time because of the injury. I missed out on as many as seven tournaments. I managed to play at PBL and Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold but again I had an abdominal strain in Lucknow and I had to withdraw from Thailand Masters as well," Kashyap told PTI.
"But now BAI and the Government want me to play at the South Asian Games. I am in no position to play. I can't play. I have sent letters to BAI, and the ministry explaining my situation. I also spoke to DG, SAI Injeti Srinivas but still I haven't got any positive response. On the contrary, I got the tickets for Guwahati today. I am feeling very frustrated," a disturbed Kashyap said.
The 29-year-old feels that his case should have been treated differently.
"I understand India is hosting this event and Government wants to showcase the best team. But mine is a special case, I am injured now. I have just 12 weeks to qualify for the Olympics. Out of which I can also play for seven weeks and train for 5 weeks.
"This in itself is a huge task. On top of it, to expect me to play at SA Games is too much. I don't know what to do. If I play, I might again aggravate my injury," Kashyap said.
"If I were fit, I could have played. But I just can't play. But no one is listening to me."
Kashyap suffered a calf muscle tear in his left leg during the French Open in October, last year. It completely upset his Olympic preparation. The qualification for the Rio would depend on world rankings in May and Kashyap have to do really well in the international events to improve his standings and make it to the Rio Games.
"Everybody else have atleast played all through the year. I missed out because of injury and now I need atleast four weeks to be fit for the European circuit -- German, All-England and Swiss Open. Then also I dont have any time, it will be India, Malaysia and Singapore Open, six weeks straight. It would be crazy but I have to do it if I have to qualify," the 2014 Commonwealth Games (CWG) champion said.
Kashyap is hoping that he qualifies for Rio by doing well in the first three events of European circuit.
"I just pray to God that I play well in the first three tournaments so that I can relax and choose my events or else I will have to play these six tournaments and then play the Asian Championship which is the last event before the cut off time for Olympics. What can I say, I am under a lot of stress," he added.
However, the South Asian Games have thrown a spanner in his work. Left with no option, the 29-year-old wrote letters to the Badminton Association of India (BAI), Sports Ministry and Chief National coach P Gopichand. However, there has not been any development.
Top Indian shuttlers including Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu are also reluctant to play at the SAG and according to a BAI source they too have written letter to the BAI citing illness and fitness issues to skip the event.
Indian shuttlers are also set to compete at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad from 15 to 21 February and participating in SA games will disrupt their training and tournament schedule.
The team championship at the Games is scheduled for 6 and 7 February for men and women respectively. The semifinals will be held on 8 February and finals in the evening, while the individual events will be held on 9 and 10 February .
Indian shuttlers managed a clean sweep, clinching all 7 gold medals in both men's and women's events in the last event, popularly called the Olympics Games of South Asia, when it was held in 2010 in Bangladesh.
Last Wednesday, BAI had announced that World number two Saina and World number nine Srikanth will be spearheading a strong 15-member squad for the Games. Double World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu and Kashyap, H S Prannoy, Ajay Jayaram, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa have also been named in the squad.