New Delhi, September 15
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) today postponed the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Denmark to next year following withdrawals by many teams due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
India had announced both the men’s and women’s squads for the prestigious event which was scheduled to be held in Aarhus from October 3 to 11.
However, after Indonesia and South Korea joined Thailand, Australia, Chinese Taipei and Algeria in pulling out due to Covid-19, the sport’s governing body held a virtual emergency council meeting on Sunday.
“The Badminton World Federation, in full consultation and agreement with local host Badminton Denmark, has made the tough decision to postpone the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 in Aarhus, Denmark,” BWF said in a statement. “The decision comes following the withdrawal of a number of participating teams,” it added.
BWF had tried to rope in Singapore and Hong Kong as replacements but they declined the invitation. There were also reports that Japan was contemplating withdrawing from the event, while China too was awaiting government’s approval. September 18 was the last date for confirmation.
Saina Nehwal had also raised concerns about the timing of the event, asking whether it would be safe to go ahead with it in the middle of the pandemic.
Saina and PV Sindhu were supposed to lead the 10-member women’s team in Uber Cup, while Kidambi Srikanth would have spearheaded the men’s campaign in Thomas Cup.
However, the team’s preparations were not progressing smoothly with a proposed camp cancelled a few days ago due to the players’ refusal to accept the quarantine norms set by the Sports Authority of India.
The Thomas and Uber Cup Finals were supposed to mark the resumption of international badminton after it came to a halt in March because of the dreaded virus.
Indians ‘confused’ about Denmark Open participation
In another decision, BWF has decided to proceed with the Denmark Open, to be held on October 13-18 in Odense.
The decision to go ahead with the BWF World Tour event has left a few Indian players, including Sindhu, Saina and Parupalli Kashyap, confused. “We are still confused what to do under the circumstances,” Kashyap said. “Saina has got a visa for Denmark and I have applied for it but we are still undecided about participation. There are many questions like what happens if I test positive? Will I be sent back home or will I have to stay there for 14 days? Who takes care of the expenses?”
The Badminton Association of India today wrote to the players who have sent their entries for the Denmark Open, stating that they would be “travelling or participating at their own responsibility due to the current pandemic” and “have to send their consent by September 17”.
The participation of Sindhu also looks doubtful. “We have sent our entry but we have to wait and see because going for one event, taking tests and following quarantine rules... we need to discuss with the coach, look at last year’s result (for ranking points) and then take a decision,” Sindhu’s father Ramana said. — PTI
Setback for sport: Vimal Kumar
New Delhi: Former India badminton coach Vimal Kumar today said the postponement of the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals was a big setback for the sport. “What the Asian nations have done, it is really disappointing. There are no major issues in these countries, they are having local events there, so to pull out in this way, is a big setback for the sport,” Vimal said. “It was an ideal way to revive the circuit. The platform was there. I’ll blame the Asian nations for this mess.”
‘Players need competition’
“I understand the concern that players have but they have to take the onus. It is an individual sport; look how tennis players have done it. The government cannot always do everything for you. Players need competition. If you are eager to play then just go and play and if you are too stressed then better to skip it,” Vimal said. pti
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