PETALING JAYA: The status of next week’s Asia Team Champion-ships in Manila, the Philippines, is in quandary as two badminton nations – China and Hong Kong – may not get to compete.
The Philippines government have temporarily barred non-Filipino travellers arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau to their country as preventive measures to contain the coronavirus from spreading.
The Asia badminton meet, which starts on Tuesday, serves as the qualifiers for the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals from May 19-24 in Aarhus, Denmark.
The team qualifiers also offer valuable ranking points for Olympic hopefuls.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) have stated that they were not stopping players from China to compete in any tournaments abroad but they are unable to stop countries from making a stand on the matter.
It’s learnt that Badminton Asia (BA) are appealing to the Philippines government to allow the shuttlers from the two nations to compete in Manila.
If the appeal is rejected, the Asia qualifiers will lose its glitter as China are the Thomas Cup defending champions and last year’s Uber Cup runners-up.
And the organisers may have to conduct a redraw.
In Group B of the men’s competition, China and Hong Kong are lumped together with Thailand. Without China and Hong Kong, Thailand will get a direct entry into the top-eight knockout stage and it may not be well accepted by other participants.
It will be difficult for the BA to change the venue following the short notice and it will be tough to postpone it as there are other back-to-back Open tournaments scheduled before the Olympic qualifying period ends on April 30.
The BA may scrap the tournament and select Asia representatives for the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals by virtue of their team ranking but that will need the approval of the world body.
All other continent qualifiers in Europe, Africa and Ocenia – scheduled next week – would go on as scheduled. The BWF have already postponed the China Masters in Hainan from Feb 25-March 1 although it is an Olympic qualifying tournament and the status of the Asian Championships in Wuhan, China, from April 21-26, which is the last Olympic qualifying tournament, is pending.
Meanwhile, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) confirmed that the 10-member men’s team of Lee Zii Jia, Cheam June Wei, Leong June Hao, Ng Tze Yong, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and a nine-member women’s team comprising Soniia Cheah, S. Kisona, Eoon Qi Xuan, Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean, Pearly Tan Koong Le-M. Thinaah and Yap Cheng Wen will depart to Manila as planned tomorrow.
Group A: Indonesia, India, the Philippines.
Group B: China, Thailand, Hong Kong.
Group C: Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore.
Group D: Japan, South Korea, Kazakhstan.
Group A: Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong.
Group B: South Korea, India, Kazakhstan.
Group C: Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines.
Group D: China, Taiwan, Singapore.