PETALING JAYA: It’s all systems go for the Indian Open badminton championships from May 11-16 despite the Covid-19 crisis.
However, world No. 13 Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong are still undecided whether to make their way to New Delhi to salvage their fast-fading Tokyo Olympics bid.
V Shem said the anticipation of the long travel has made them reconsider their option although they had submitted their entry for the tournament.
“We’re still contemplating whether to play in India or not, ” said V Shem.
“It will be a bit of a hassle to get there as we could not find any direct flight.
“During this pandemic, it’s not so ideal to transit between flights as we’ll get exposed to some risks at the airport.
“I will discuss with my partner and see what’s the best decision.”
As it stands, V Shem-Wee Kiong, the Rio Olympics silver medallists, still have a mathematical chance of overtaking compatriots Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik in the Race to Tokyo rankings.
V Shem-Wee Kiong are currently ranked 14th, just four rungs below Aaron-Wooi Yik, but they have a huge point deficit to make up.
V Shem-Wee Kiong will have to win at least two of the remaining three qualifiers which include the Malaysian Open (May 25-30) and Singapore Open (June 1-6) while hoping for Aaron-Wooi Yik to be eliminated early at the same time in the coming tournaments.
The Tokyo 2020 doubles competition will be contested by 16 pairs, but a country can only field a maximum of two pairs only if both are in the top eight.
But V Shem appeared to have all but thrown in the towel in their chase.
“We’re trailing by almost 10,000 points. We will need to win a tournament or two to stand a chance. It’s tough and we’re running out of time, ” he said.
Meanwhile, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) announced that the Indian Open will proceed as planned and be conducted behind closed doors at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall.
The tournament will be contested in a biosecure bubble without spectators and the media while implementing strict Covid-19 safety protocols.
“We’re really happy to finally be able to resume badminton action and host such top shuttlers from across the world, ” said BAI secretary general Ajay Singhani in a press release.
“But with the recent spike in cases, we have to be more cautious. Players’ safety has always been of prime importance and our top priority, and this tournament will be no different.
“We understand spectators have been an integral part of our growth story but this year despite it being an Olympic qualifier and having an array of star shuttlers in action, we have to take the decision of conducting the tournament in a bio bubble.”