Compulsory full vaccination will be a prerequisite for all shuttlers aged over 18 looking to compete in upcoming domestic badminton tournaments. Those under 18 will be required to carry a mandatory negative RT-PCR report with barcode, dated not more than 96 hours prior to departure from their station.
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has alerted state units to ensure that all shuttlers registered with them should complete their vaccinations and furnish certificates before entering tournaments. These rules would also apply to coaches, technical officials, organising team, and staff.
Badminton is attempting to kickstart its much-touted domestic calendar of 13 annual tournaments with prize money to the tune of Rs 2.2 crore.
Elaborating on the plan to put strict Covid-19 guidelines in place, a BAI release said, “According to the newly-announced guidelines by BAI, players above the age of 18, coaches, technical officials, organising team, and staff will have to complete both doses of vaccines and are required to carry a vaccination certificate with a valid barcode. However, for the shuttlers below 18 years, it’s made mandatory to carry a negative RT-PCR report with barcode, 96 hours prior to the departure station. The season will be kickstarted with the Senior Ranking Tournaments followed by events of the other age categories.”
While a fixed date has not been announced, the federation has been in talks with state units to shortlist likely hosts. Hosting tournaments in Covid times will also require that the venue have at least a dozen courts. Every meet is also likely to go on for eight days instead of the usual five to space out the playing area.
While the pandemic has made hosting of even international events in India improbable this season, the federation is keen to start off domestic meets. The international schedule is packed with the Sudirman Cup in Finland and Thomas Uber Cup, and the World Championships in December. However, the federation is keen on full participation while following safety protocols for the home events.
“The purpose of this intimation is to apprise everyone, all the state association players and stakeholders to get vaccinations done immediately,” BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania said. No exceptions will be made owing to the health implications, a BAI spokesperson said.