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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Cancellation of German Open a big setback to Indian badminton stars' qualification hopes

  • With the German Open and Polish Open cancelled, a tough test awaits the Indian badminton stars as they hope to qualify for the Olympics.
Kartik Iyer
ANALYST
News
Modified 27 Feb 2020, 11:15 IST
Sania Nehwal is fighting against odds to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics
Sania Nehwal is fighting against odds to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics

What's the story?

The German Open Badminton tournament that was supposed to be held in Mulheim, Germany has been cancelled due to the growing concern over the coronavirus outbreak, and this update could prove to be a major setback to the qualification hopes of the Indian badminton stars ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

In case you didn't know

As per the qualification rules for badminton, a maximum of two players can represent their country at the 2020 summer Olympics in the men's and women's singles disciplines as long as both are ranked in the top 16 of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) world rankings.

The BWF considers the 'Race to Tokyo' Olympic Qualification rankings to determine the qualifiers. These rankings are based on the tournaments held in the Olympic qualification period of 29th April 29, 2019, to 26th April 2020.

As per the current "Race to Tokyo" Olympic Qualification rankings, among the Indian players, only PV Sindhu (ranked 7th) and Sai Praneeth (ranked 11th) are in line to claim the Olympic qualification spots in the women's and men's singles events respectively.

The other Indian badminton stars including Saina Nehwal (ranked 22nd) and Kidambi Srikanth (ranked 21st) are fighting against time to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Heart of the matter

The German Open, a Super 300 event of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour, was supposed to be held in Mulheim, Germany from 3rd March to 8th March.

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The tournament has been cancelled due to the growing concern over the coronavirus outbreak. The BWF mentioned that the decision was taken based on the advice from Mulheim's public health department.

"The Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm the Yonex German Open 2020 to be staged in Mulheim an der Ruhr next week will no longer take place on its scheduled dates of 3-8 March. The City of Mulheim took the decision earlier today (Wednesday) in line with its own rules and procedures due to restrictions in place over the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak"

The BWF added that no decision has been taken on when the tournament could be held and they could only confirm that the tournament would not be held in the 1st week of March.

“No concrete plans or decisions have been made in regards to the immediate future of the tournament other than that it won’t occur next week"

In a related development, it was also confirmed that the Polish Open, which was supposed to be held in Krakow from 26th to 29th March has also been postponed.

“Due to the growing sanitary and epidemiological threat posed by Covid-19 (Coronavirus), the Board of the Polish Badminton Association, after consultation with the District Sanitary and Epidemiological Station in Krakow, the Crisis Management Department in Krakow, the Department of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Sport and Health, have decided to postpone the Polish Open 2020"

What's next?

The cancellation of these tournaments is a major setback to the aspirations of the Indian badminton stars in their path to qualify for the Olympics. With not much time left for the qualification period to end and very few tournaments remaining in this period, the Indian shuttlers will have to come up with some extraordinary performances to qualify for the quadrennial tournament.

Published 27 Feb 2020, 11:15 IST
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