Malaysian Open faces first closure in 37 years


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Open, the country’s flagship badminton tournament, has been held every year without fail since its revival in 1983.

After 37 years, it may be absent again.

The World Tour event, scheduled to be held from March 31-April 5, has been suspended indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic and neither the Badminton World Federation (BWF) nor Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have suggested possible alternative dates.

It is hard to see when the Open can return with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down for at least the next couple of months.

Even if the situation gets better, the second half of the BWF calendar is already packed with tournaments, making it difficult for the BWF to re-organise their schedule.

The BWF had announced on Friday that all their sanctioned tournaments starting tomorrow until April 12 will not be held with the Malaysian Open, Swiss Open, Indian Open and Singapore Open among the notable World Tour tournaments to be affected.

The Malaysian Open had its inception in 1937 and was held every year until World War II halted it between 1942 and 1946. It was restarted in 147 and continued until the race riots of 1969 again forced its cancellation.

It was restarted in 1983 and has been held annually since.

BAM secretary Datuk Kenny Goh admitted it would be tough for the Malaysian Open to be fitted into the already-packed calendar after June.

“Ideally, we want to hold the tournament, but it all depends on the next available window.

“We will discuss it with BWF,” said Kenny.

“The Malaysian Open is not the only suspended tournament due to the outbreak and there are also many other events lined up right until the end of the year, so we’ll see.

“If it can’t be held this year, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Kenny added that the tournament’s suspension had caused losses for the organisers.

“We started our preparations early, so we did spend quite a bit. Also, we need to refund our ticket buyers.”
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