Indonesia set to host Asian leg of badminton Tour

PETALING JAYA: With Malaysia out of the running with its borders closed, the All-Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) have hinted that they could host the two proposed Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour legs in Asia in November.

In the revised World Tour calendar released last Friday, the BWF listed Asia Open 1 (Nov 10-15) and Asia Open 2 (Nov 17-22), both with a US$1mil (RM4.17mil) prize purse, as among the five tournaments to salvage the circuit which was suspended since the completion of the All-England in mid-March.

While Denmark will hosts the first two legs next month, the destination for the two legs in Asia, as well as the season-ending World Tour Finals in December, have yet to be determined.

Denmark will proceed with plans to stage the US$750,000 (RM3.12mil) Danisa Denmark Open from Oct 13-18 with the Denmark Open 2, carrying the same prize purse, set to follow from Oct 20-25.

The two meets will make up a three-event “Danish Swing” that kicks off with the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals from Oct 3-11.

While the country to host the two Asian stops still remains a guessing game, PBSI secretary-general Achmad Budiharto’s revelation on its official site may have shed some light on the final destination of the Tour’s two legs,

Achmad said there was a possibility for Indonesia to play host to the two tournaments and that PBSI would have further discussions with BWF.

“The series (of tournaments) in Asia might be in Indonesia, (however) there are many things that need to be discussed because it is quite a complicated issue, ” said Achmad.

“There’s already a green light from the government for sporting events to be held in in Indonesia, but with a Covid-19 (safety) protocol in place because the main concern is about the safety of athletes and other stakeholders, ” he added.

PBSI have had to cancel the Indonesian Open, which had initially been scheduled for Nov 17-22 in Jakarta. The Open boasted a mouth-watering US$1.35mil (RM5.62mil) prize money, making it the second richest meet after the US$1.5mil (RM6.25mil) World Tour Finals.

Besides Malaysia, China are also out of the picture because of their government restriction and financial reasons, so badminton-crazy Indonesia looks like a viable candidate for the job.

It is highly unlikely that there’s any other country willing to source for the kind of corporate sponsorship needed to finance the two events with purses of US$1mil each in these difficult times.

The only question that remains is: Can Indonesia guarantee the safety of health and well-being of the entourage travelling into the country, as it continues to report surge in Covid-19 cases. About 2,700 cases were reported yesterday alone.

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