On Friday, the BWF announced the postponement of the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals as well as the suspension of all remaining events in the Tokyo qualifying period.
A week after cutting 4 weeks of international badminton events, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced on Friday the suspension of the final five events from the Olympic qualifying period, and then the postponement of the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals. The end of the Tokyo qualifying period was to have been the continental championships for Europe, Asia, and the Pan Am region but while these were not affected by the BWF’s sweeping suspension decision of March 13th, the axe fell on them, as expected, after a week of disastrous news of the worsening Covid-19 outbreak. Smaller events in Peru and Croatia were also suspended.
Of the dozens of badminton tournaments affected by the Covid-19 outbreak this year, only two have already been rescheduled. The Hanoi International Challenge was quickly and optimistically rescheduled for early June, while the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals have already found a new time slot, a few weeks after the now very tentative dates for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Finals have been rescheduled for August 15th to 23rd, along with the BWF’s Annual General Meeting.
Also suspended were two additional Para-Badminton events, the African Championships and the Uganda International, which were to have spanned a two-week period in Kampala from April 20th to May 3rd. With the latest cancellations, postponements, and suspensions, the next event on the block is the New Zealand Open Super 300. If it goes ahead, it will feature the only international badminton matches in the month of April.
With the Olympic qualifying period prematurely ended, questions arise as to whether current standing would be applied to decide on invitations to Tokyo. However, the more salient question is whether the 2020 Olympics will take place at all and – if they are postponed by several months or more than a year – whether the BWF will decide that the 10 months of qualifying that ended with the recent All England should decide who will be invited to participate. In their press release yesterday, the BWF said it ‘will make a further announcement on any implications related to the Olympic qualification period at a later date’.