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The adverse impact of the outbreak of Coronavirus or COVID-19 on the international badminton calendar, especially the Olympic qualifying tournaments, continues to escalate. Now, the governing body of international badminton – BWF – has announced that more tournaments have been cancelled or postponed for the time being.
The latest casualties include the 55th Portuguese International Championships. In a statement issued on its website, BWF said that the Portuguese Badminton Federation (PBF) has cancelled the event after being advised to do so by the health authorities in the country.
The official statement says:
“The Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm the 55th Portuguese International Championships 2020 to be staged in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, starting 5 March will no longer take place on its scheduled dates. Portuguese Badminton Federation (PBF) made the decision on the advice of health authorities regarding continued concerns over the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak."
PBF's statement read:
"A risk assessment conducted by Portuguese Health Authorities has recommended that the event be cancelled/postponed. (We) are obliged to take this recommendation to cancel the tournament.".
"No concrete plans or decisions have been made in regards to the immediate future of the tournament other than that it won’t occur this week. BWF accepts the decision citing the welfare of players, their entourage, fans and officials at the tournament as the main priority.”
But that’s not all. Two other minor tournaments have also been axed for the moment. They are the AMOT Junior International Series, which was scheduled to take place in Israel from 12th to 14th March, and Pembangunan Jaya Raya Junior GP 2020, set for the period 14-19 April in Indonesia.
Now the biggest fear of badminton fans and players is the most prestigious event after the World Championships, the All England Open, also getting postponed. This event is slated to begin on March 11.
Also, the cancellation of many of these events is affecting the chances of many players to qualify for the Olympics. Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap have demanded that BWF extend the period under consideration for qualification. However, on that front, there is no movement from BWF.
"The BWF is continuing to monitor all official updates on COVID-19 and is mindful that HSBC BWF World Tour and other BWF-sanctioned tournaments may be affected, but there are no concrete plans or decisions at this point to change the status of any other events,” the official statement read, further compounding the problems of players."
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