Indian Open organisers going all out to make event a success

PETALING JAYA: The Indian Open badminton championships may be months away but the Badminton Association of India (BAI) are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the tournament’s success in a Covid-19 marred season.

The US$400,000 (RM1.64mil) meet, which is scheduled for March 30-April 4 in New Delhi, is one of the highly-anticipated World Tour stops in the first half of the season as it is an Olympic qualifier.

According to reports in India, the BAI had on Monday received a positive feedback from the government on their request to relax the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for international players taking part in the tournament.

BAI had asked the government to consider the current international practice of accepting a negative RT-PCR (real-time transcription polymerase chain reaction) test report taken 72 hours earlier instead of practising quarantine requirements.

The RT-PCR test detects the virus directly, thus indicating whether an active infection of Covid-19 is present.

“We had a very fruitful discussion with sports minister Kiren Rijiju, ” said BAI secretary general Ajay Singhania as quoted in the Times of India.

“I have explained in our letter of request to the honourable sports minister the importance of the Indian Open as this will be an Olympic qualifier where top shuttlers from the world will be keen to participate only if the quarantine rules are relaxed.

“He has assured all support and a prompt look to solve the matter.”

BAI’s resolve to make the Indian Open a success has also quashed claims by Hong Kong head coach He Yiming that Singapore will be hosting three Olympic qualifiers in March next year.

The Indian Open will be among the six important qualifying events that include the Malaysian Open (April 6-11) that can still make a difference for Malaysian shuttlers’ Tokyo 2021 aspirants.

They are men’s doubles pairs Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and mixed doubles pairs Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai.

As for women’s doubles pair Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean, who’re almost assured of their trip to Tokyo, they will be aiming to go one better in Delhi after coming close to winning the title last year.

They were beaten by Indonesia’s Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu in the final.

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