New Delhi: The novel coronavirus outbreak might have wrecked havoc on Olympic qualifying events but badminton’s world body on Friday said it has currently no “plans to make any adjustments” to the regulations related to the Tokyo Games qualification period.
Concerns over the rapid spread of the deadly virus forced the postponement of the four Olympic qualifying events so far — Lingshui China Masters (February 25 to March 1), Vietnam International Challenge (24-29 March 24-29) and German Open (March 3 to 8) and Polish Open (March 26-29).
Many top players such as two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan, London bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and Rio Olympics quarterfinalist Kidambi Srikanth are racing against time to book their ticket to Tokyo.
The postponement of these qualifying tournaments will further dent their chances as they need a rapid rise up the rankings to qualify for the Games.
However, Badminton World Federation said it will not be “appropiate” to make any changes to the Olympic qualification schedule.
“With particular reference to Olympic Qualification, BWF is not at this time planning to make any adjustments to the regulations related to the Olympic Qualification period,” the world body said in a statement.
“Any change to the existing Olympic qualification rules will affect different players both positively or negatively, and with the present level of postponement and cancellation, BWF does not believe that making changes is appropriate.”
The deadly coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has so far killed close to 3000 people and infected nearly 80,000 globally.
BWF said it is aware that some of the affected events were part of players’ plans for Olympic qualification but the outbreak of the disease is not in anyone’s control.
“It is unfortunate that some tournaments have been postponed or cancelled and BWF appreciates that these tournaments have been part of players’ plans to seek qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and other tournaments where qualification is required (such as the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals),” he said.
“The postponement or cancellation of tournaments is not within the control of hosts, BWF or the badminton community, but is caused by ongoing developments as a result of COVID-19 in different areas of the world and decisions will be taken based on information provided by public health authorities.”
The world body said it is monitoring the situation and as of now other events will go as per schedule.
“All other tournaments on the BWF calendar within the Olympic qualification period are scheduled to run,” it said.
“BWF and the hosts are closely monitoring the situation in countries where scheduled tournaments are hosted and will inform the badminton community immediately if the status of these tournaments change.”