Give us breathing space


Not all’s ideal: Axelsen appreciates the host for their efforts to provide a safe environment for the shuttlers but feels that some things could be improved.

PETALING JAYA: All Denmark shuttler Viktor Axelsen wanted was 15 minutes under the sun.

Not only was his request not entertained but the former world No. 1’s sharing about some of the challenges in Thailand under the bubble system has been erased by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on their Facebook page.

Axelsen managed to screenshot his message before it was deleted and posted it on his social media platform.

“I wrote a comment expressing my thoughts on @BWF.official post on FB, but they apparently removed the post shortly afterwards, ” said Axelsen, who is in Bangkok for the season opener, the Thailand Open, starting tomorrow.

He will also compete in the second Open in Thailand next week and the World Tour Finals at the same venue from Jan 27-31.

While appreciating the host for their extraordinary efforts to provide a safe environment for the shuttlers since they arrived on Jan 4 under strict guidelines, Axelsen wished that some things could be improved.

After all, BWF secretary general Thomas Lund had earlier assured that the back-to-back events in Thailand would be a foretaste of what to expect in future tournaments.

“Lund also spoke of using the Asian Tour as a blueprint to staging future tournaments throughout 2021, ” he said.

“Firstly, I respect all the hard work which has made this Bangkok tour a reality. I, as an athlete, am happy to be able to compete again.

“But not being allowed to go outside and stand in the sun for 15 minutes (with mask and social distancing) outside the hotel and not being able to control your meal timings and eating dry chicken breast 95% of the time probably isn’t ideal as a longer term solution.

“Also, at this point here in Bangkok, smokers are allowed to go outside during the day to smoke while we as athletes are stuck inside? How is this consistency then?

“I totally respect the safety measures taken, but the above mentioned isn’t ideal IMO (in my opinion).”

The athletes are allowed to train twice a day for one hour each at the stadium.

They are not allowed to come out of their rooms or hang around at the lobby when they are in the hotel.

Without top seed Kento Momota of Japan, world No. 4 Axelsen is one of the favourites in the top half to win the first Thai Open. He is in the same half with two top Indonesians, Anthony Ginting (5th) and Jonatan Christie (6th).

In the other half, the title contenders are second seed Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan, Anders Antonsen of Denmark (3rd), Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong (7th) and Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia (8th).

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