PETALING JAYA: The Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour looks to be over before it even started.
Not one, but four events of the flagship circuit in September, including the Taiwan Open from Sept 1-6 have been cancelled. These meets were supposed to have kick-started the resumption of the season which was halted in mid-March.
The other three affected tournaments are the Korean Open (Sept 8-13), China Open (Sept 15-20) and Japan Open (Sept 22-27).
Initially, it had been thought the three events in China – including the Fuzhou China Open (Nov 3-8) and World Tour Finals in Guangzhou (Dec 16-20) – were the ones in peril following a Chinese government directive to cancel all international sporting events for the year.
The future certainly looks bleak with the entire world scrambling to prevent a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
More cancellations are expected over the coming months with a spike of coronavirus cases being reported in Hong Kong, India and Indonesia, which all have national Opens lined up for October and November.
As for the Malaysian Open, which is slated for Nov 24-29, organisers Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have made it clear they would like to call it off because it is not financially viable.
BAM secretary Datuk Kenny Goh said the latest cancellations did not come as a surprise.
“We kind of expected it as the uncertainties make the situation change almost on a daily basis, ” said Kenny.
“There’s just too much at stake. In fact, BWF should have made the announcement earlier as the health and safety of the players and officials should always be the first concern for BWF.
“I have spoken to Thomas (Lund, BWF secretary general) about the Malaysian Open, too. He assured us that BWF are continuously monitoring the situation globally and asked us for more time.
“BWF are also engaging with other host countries, including Indonesia and Thailand, to plan a three-week swing of events in South-East Asia in late November and early December.”
The lack of competitive action is not expected to cause much disruption to the national team as BAM have stressed that they will take no chances with the health and well-being of their shuttlers.
Their priority is the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark from Oct 3-11.
The prestigious team competition could now be the first meet to revive the badminton season. However, that, too, could be in jeopardy if things do not go as planned.