Shuttlers to keep Tokyo ranking points earned before shutdown


MUMBAI (Reuters) – Shuttlers will keep ranking points they earned during the original Olympic qualification period before the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the Tokyo Games to be postponed, the Badminton World Federation said on Wednesday.

The All England Open, played from March 11-15, was the final event to count towards Olympic qualification before the circuit closed down due to the spread of the virus.

Rankings at the end of April should have been the cutoff to decide which badminton players will be at the Tokyo Games.

The governing body said an extended Olympic qualification period will be introduced in 2021 and will include only those tournaments that were postponed, cancelled or suspended due to the pandemic this year.

“It has been a thorough process with the close and valuable consultation of the Athletes’ Commission to consider how best to make adjustments to the … qualification system,” BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said, the amended process has been approved by the International Olympic Committee.

“We feel this is a fair solution for all athletes and it will be our first and main priority to conduct these tournaments as part of badminton’s adjusted return in the wake of COVID-19.”

The BWF announced a new 2020 tournaments calendar last week with the World Tour set to return with the Taipei Open from Sept. 1-6.

Tournaments that have been rescheduled for later in 2020 will not count towards qualification and only the 2021 editions of each tournament will offer points towards the Race to Tokyo ranking list.

The BWF added that players from China and Hong Kong can earn points from the 2021 Badminton Asia Team Championships as they were not able to participate in the 2020 edition in Manila due to travel restrictions imposed by Philippines.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Pritha Sarkar