Indian women shuttlers withdraw from Asia Team due to health concerns

PETALING JAYA: The Asia Team Championships in Manila, the Philippines, will go on but the number of badminton teams are set to drop.

India women’s team have withdrawn from the biennial tournament starting on Tuesday, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

This means the women’s competition could potentially be left with just nine teams, if the Philippines government remains firm on its blanket ban on travellers from China and Hong Kong since last Monday.

Badminton Association of India (BAI) in a statement on Friday said: “Unforeseen health hazard apprehension due to the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in withdrawal of the women’s team for the upcoming Asia Team Championships.”

“BAI had reached out to the concerned authorities in Badminton Asia (BA) for assurances regarding the current situation and necessary health advisory and precautionary measures taken.

“The men’s team agreed to travel and confirmed their participation, however, the women’s team were withdrawn owing to concerns showed by parents and players.”

Meanwhile, BA and the hosts, Philippines Badminton Association, are still in the midst of persuading the Philippines government to grant an exemption on shuttlers from China and Hong Kong to enter the country.

“We will know latest by Monday,” said a BA official who refused to be named.

Hong Kong head coach Tim He Yiming is hopeful that they will be allowed to compete.

“Every tournament is important at this stage as the Olympic qualification is due to finish in two months and if we can’t take part in the event, it will cost some of the players dearly,” Yiming told the South China Morning Post.

The Asia meet serves as the qualifiers for the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark, in May. It also offers valuable ranking points for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
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