China team’s participation in All-England in jeopardy

Will they be going?: China’s Chen Long and Co have registered for the German Open from March 3-8.

PETALING JAYA: Will the All-England from March 11-15 lose its prestige without the participation of Chinese shuttlers?

All signs are pointing towards that after China BA pulled out all their players, including five-time world champion Lin Dan from the Spain Masters from Feb 18-23, with the coronavirus outbreak showing no signs of slowing down.

China BA have also withdrawn all their players from two international tournaments – the Austrian Open (Feb 19-22) and Dutch Junior International (Feb 26-March 1) and postponed all domestic and international tournaments scheduled in the country for February and March.The Lingshui China Masters, a sixth-tier World Tour event which slated for Feb 25-1 in Hainan, was the most notable badminton event postponed.

Unlike the United States, Australia and New Zealand, the United Kingdom has yet to impose a blanket ban on the entry of Chinese nationals.

But the country’s renowned newspaper Daily Mail had reported on Wednesday that the country is mulling on banning all direct flights from China and turn away foreign nationals who have been to the disease-stricken country within the last four days.

Chinese shuttlers dominated the last year’s All-England edition, winning three out of the five titles through Chen Yufei (women’s singles), Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (women’s doubles) and Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (mixed doubles).

Chen Long and Co have also registered for the German Open from March 3-8.

If China skip the European stops, their hopes of having maximum representation in all the five events in the Tokyo Olympic Games will be in tatters.

While they are nearly assured of two berths in the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles, the same can’t be said for the men’s singles and men’s doubles.

Fit-again Shi Yuqi is still not certain of joining Chen Long in the men’s singles qualification just yet although he’s currently placed 12th in the Race to Tokyo rankings.

Lin Dan’s hopes of featuring in his fifth Olympics is also be as good as over.

In the men’s doubles, 2018 world champions Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen are the only pair look set to qualify as things stand, with Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong sitting just outside the top eight in ninth spot.

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