Bangkok, Thailand will enforce a 14-day strict quarantine on international shuttlers heading there for the three Asian leg tournaments in January 2021.
The Badminton World Federation in a virtual press briefing insisted that while the sport has struggled to take off, badminton is keen on pulling off the two Asian circuit events and the World Tour finals by stitching up a tight bubble. A mandatory Covid-19 test from point of origin certifying them fit to fly, and another at the Bangkok airport is part of the protocol for players. For 14 days, all participants and their entourage will be hemmed inside the designated bubble hotel during which they will be tested several times.
While Olympic qualification will try to stick to its April 30, 2020 deadlines, the situation remains fluid, BWF said.
Thailand is being seen as a blueprint to conduct future cluster tournaments – a bunch of them clubbed together at one venue. This will include checking viability for a busy season that has World Championships, TUC, and Sudirman Cup.
While stressing that the enforced changes have financial implications, all plans are factoring in these changing scenarios. Vaccine-willing, the BWF said they will keep an open mind on putting in place the calendar, as well as resume competition for second-rung athletes.
“Covid 19 is still an issue and we have to think carefully how we approach 2021,” BWF president Poul Erik Hoyer said. Crossing borders from 50-60 countries for 400 odd athletes creates complexity, secretary general Thomas Lund said, adding that there were individual player concerns too that led to deferments.
On the matter of spectators, Lund said a call can be taken only closer to the event consulting the Thai government since the virus operated in a volatile environment. Health authorities will be consulted on how to go forward indoors, given several nations have restricted doubles practice.
Lund clarified that cancellations of Thomas Uber Cup was not owing to sponsorship considerations, but because they stresses on “quality of tournaments and high level competition for the fans.”
Rankings will remain frozen till further notice and a consistent schedule shapes up, and seedings will take into consideration rankings until March 2020.
The juniors who were eligible for World Junior Championships in 2020, will also be eligible for 2021.
The one-off Denmark Open starting October 13 will be the first international meet post resumption.
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