Badminton: Why the India Open got postponed when IPL is being held?
The India Open Super 500 tournament, one of the last three qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics, was on Monday postponed due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
The India Open Super 500 tournament, one of the last three badminton qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics, was on Monday postponed due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The $400,000 India Open was scheduled to be held behind closed doors in the national capital from May 11 to 16. "Considering the current challenges, BAI is left with no option but to announce the postponement of the tournament for the time being," Badminton Association of India (BAI) general secretary Ajay Singhania said at a virtual press conference.
The 2020 edition of the India Open was cancelled after it was initially postponed from March to December. "It is unfortunate that we had to postpone it for the second time. But I am confident when the situation will improve, we will conduct the tournament properly. "The fresh dates have still not been decided. That is something BWF will let us know in time."
India has reported 2,73,810 new positive cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day surge taking the country's caseload past the 1.5 crore mark. As many as 1,619 people have succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours. Delhi has emerged as one of the worst-hit cities with 25,462 cases reported on Sunday.
Given the grave situation, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Monday announced a six-day lockdown starting tonight till next Monday. "Delhi is going into a lockdown from tonight and we don't know what would happen next and what would be the impact," Singhania said.
"Situation is very grave and so after several rounds of discussions with BWF as well as the Delhi Government and other stakeholders and accessing the safety of players and officials, BAI took this decision." With COVID-19 cases rising, many top players, including Olympic champion Carolina Marin, former world champion Ratchanok Intanon and Denmark's duo of Anders Antonsen and Rasmus Gemke had withdrawn from the Olympic ranking event.
Consequences of not playing the India Open
As the India Open stands postponed it is not sure When it would be held, if at all the packed Badminton World Federation calendar allows before the July-August Olympic Games in Tokyo, remains to be seen. If it doesn't get scheduled before the Olympics, it would spell the end of the journey for players like Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy among others who aim to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as India Open was among the big-ticket Road to Tokyo qualification tournament for badminton. While PV Sindhu, B Sai Praneeth, and men's doubles of pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are already ahead in the race to qualify for Tokyo, others virtually don't get any further chance to qualify. After India Open, only two big tournaments would be remaining for Indian players to make a mark - The Malaysia Open Super 750 from 25-30 May and Singapore Open Super 500 from 1-6 June.
Why the India Open got postponed when IPL is being held?
If the Indian Premier League can be conducted in Mumbai, which has the most number of COVID cases in India why not the India Open? It is a six-court hall. Only about 40-50 people need to be inside the stadium, without any spectators. The authorities could have shifted the venue of the India Open and opt for someplace else rather than Delhi. If a big tournament like IPL can be hosted maintaining all the protocols, then what would have gone wrong in hosting the India Open.