In what comes as a relief to several badminton stars around the world, the World Badminton Federation extended the period for the qualification window for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The initial final date was expected to be April 25 but this has duly been postponed to June 15 given the outbreak of COVID 19, uncertainty surrounding the Olympics as well as the postponement of two major tournaments to be held in Malaysia and Singapore.
The postponement also comes in light of two tournaments that have been rescheduled, namely the Malaysia Open 2021 to be now held from 25-30 May and the Singapore Open 2021 of which the final dates are June 1 to June 6. This will also be the last tournament that is official for any form of qualification.
In a statement published by the BWF, they declared that “The Olympic Qualifying period for the Race to Tokyo will now close on 15 June 2021, with the last tournament counting for qualification being the Singapore Open 2021,".
"BWF is working with the IOC to update the Tokyo 2020 qualification system whereby the final updated regulation will be shared once ready following formal approval by IOC”.
The Indian National coach Pullela Gopichand too had a say on the matter after the news surfaced. He was quoted by Times of India saying, “It is the same for everyone, so from that perspective, it is fine I guess. It gives players a good chance to space out their tournaments”.
He also expressed his views on the preparations of all players in the run-up to the Olympics and stated that the conducting of tournaments this year as compared to 2020 will be a big boost to the confidence and experience of players that is so essential.
The preparation also is to just wait out until the vaccine comes along which will further give clarity on the road ahead in terms of competitions being held. Moreover, no conclusions can be drawn from the players' performances at recently held tournaments given that the participation was low and that matches were being held after a considerable time.
Inputs from Times of India