ABC gets complicated after virus outbreak in China

  • Badminton
  • Sunday, 02 Feb 2020

PETALING JAYA: Some of the Tokyo Olympics hopefuls may have one less major qualifying event to play – the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) – if the coronavirus outbreak does not improve anytime soon.

And Malaysia’s third ranked mixed doubles pair Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing are keeping their fingers crossed that the situation will eventually get better for the ABC to proceed as scheduled.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced yesterday that the ABC in Wuhan, China, from April 21-26, is currently under review by the Badminton Asia. It’s the last Olympic qualifying tournament for badminton.

Wuhan, a city with an 11mil population, is the centre of the outbreak that has claimed over 250 lives – all in China – with nearly 12,000 confirmed cases.

With the continental meet still about 11 weeks away, no decision has been made but the BWF stated: “We will support Badminton Asia and the China BA in this process. It’s, however, too early at this time to make any final conclusions related to this event”. Wuhan has been the host for ABC since 2015.

If it’s postponed, it could deal a major blow to some of the Asian shuttlers, particularly those who are desperate for points to make the cut at the eleventh hour.

The ABC is equivalent to a third-tier World Tour tournament and offers valuable ranking points.

The BWF have already postponed the Lingshui China Masters from Feb 25-March 1, which is an Olympic-qualifying tournament. With plans to stage it in May, it will not be considered an Olympic qualifier as the one-year qualifying period ends on April 30.

Kian Meng, who has revived his Tokyo Olympics qualification hopes with partner Pei Jing thanks to their recent resurgence, said they did not want to leave it late to secure their qualification.

“As things stand, we are desperate to pick up more points.

“So every tournament could make a difference to our hopes,” said Kian Meng, who reached the semi-finals of the Indonesian and Thailand Masters with Pei Jing recently.

They will compete in the Spain Masters (Feb 18-23), German Open (March 3-8) and All-England (March 11-15) and Opens in India, Malaysia and Singapore.

“If the Wuhan meet is taken out, we’ll be left with maybe just six but there’s nothing we can do if the BWF eventually call it off. That’s beyond our control,” said Kian Meng.

“Pei Jing and I must try to get good results over the next few assignments rather than leave it until the last minute to qualify.”

Currently 13th in the Race to Tokyo rankings, Kian Meng-Pei Jing must find their way to crack the top eight in order to make their Olympics debut.

They are in a close battle with Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (seventh) and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (10th) for the limited two quotas.

A country can only be represented by a maximum two pairs provided both are in the top eight.
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