Domestic season set to begin in August with senior meets, says BAI general secretary Singhania

BAI general secretary Ajay Kumar Singhania (right) with union sports minister Kiren Rijiju
BAI general secretary Ajay Kumar Singhania (right) with union sports minister Kiren Rijiju

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) plans to resume its much-anticipated domestic circuit in August. The national governing body’s general secretary, Ajay Kumar Singhania, has communicated the proposal to the affiliated state units.

On Tuesday, Singhania sent an email to the secretaries of the various units asking them to be ready for action.

On Monday, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced its revamped international calendar. This should come as a relief to the Indian shuttlers who have already missed out on plenty of action due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BAI general secretary Singhania, in his letter, said:

“We are starting the domestic circuit for the remaining year [of 2021-22] after discussions with BAI secretary (events) Omar Rashid. Keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic, certain guidelines need to be adhered [to] strictly for the smooth conduct of the domestic tournaments.”

BAI wants every person associated with the domestic season to be fully vaccinated. Singhania urged state units to encourage players, coaches and technical officials to get their jabs as soon as possible.

“All the participants, technical officials, coaches, organizing committee team members and staff must be vaccinated completely and carry vaccination certificates with proper barcodes. Athletes below the age of 18 must carry a negative RT-PCR report with barcode issued within 96 hours prior to arrival at departure stations.”

Singhania added:

“We have requested all state secretaries to inform players, coaches, technical officials and others accordingly. Proper planning well in advance will help us to chalk out the domestic calendar properly.”
BAI general secretary Ajay Kumar Singhania with the Indian badminton players
BAI general secretary Ajay Kumar Singhania with the Indian badminton players

BAI to hold senior tournaments first, says Singhania

The Haryana-based official revealed that the season will kickstart with senior tournaments, as junior-level events will be too risky at this point in time.

Speaking to Sportskeeda, Singhania said:

“We have decided to begin the season with the all-India senior ranking tournament in August. We will hold a couple of senior tourneys to begin with. It will help us understand the problems of conducting tournaments post the pandemic."

He said the success of the senior tournaments will determine the holding of under-19 events.

"We cannot start with juniors or sub-juniors. If we managed to hold the senior tournaments without any problems then we might organize a few under-19 tournaments as well. But it all depends on the success of the senior meets.”

BAI wants to tread cautiously as the COVID-19 situation persists and there is talk of a potential third wave in the country.

Singhania said:

“Although COVID-19 cases have been reducing rapidly throughout the country, it is still not over yet. We have to take other factors into mind like the third wave and Delta variant of the coronavirus. We will analyze the situation in the next few weeks before declaring the domestic calendar.”

He sounded happy for the Indian players who will get to compete after a long break.

“We certainly want to get going this time around. The BWF has already announced its calendar and all our Indian players who have been sitting idle for more than a year now want to play tournaments sooner than later.”

On April 6, BAI canceled a senior (level 3) tournament that was supposed to be held in Bengaluru later that month due to COVID-19 concerns. The tournament was supposed to mark the return of competitive badminton in the country. Junior and sub-junior events scheduled to be held in May were also called off, as the country was hit hard by the second wave of COVID-19.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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