New Delhi, Mar 20 : The Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Friday suspended five more tournaments, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic which has wreaked havoc on sporting events across the globe.
The announcement came a week after the BWF suspended all of its events till April 12. 'Following last week’s announcement that the Badminton World Federation (BWF) was suspending all HSBC BWF World Tour and other BWF-sanctioned tournaments from March 16 until April 12, a further five tournaments have also been cancelled or postponed,' BWF said in a statement.
The suspension includes three Continental Confederation championships scheduled for week 17 on the BWF Tournament Calendar – one of the last chances for athletes to gain qualification for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games before the April 26 deadline. The suspended tournaments are Croatian International (April 16-19 ), Peru International 2020 (April 16-19), European Championships (April 21-26), Badminton Asia Championships (April 21-26) and Pan Am Individual Championships 2020 (April 23-26). "The escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak globally has led the BWF, in close consultation and consensus with its Continental Confederations and Host Member Associations, to confirm the suspension of these tournaments," the statement added.
The number of global deaths due to COVID-19 has crossed 10,000. Most deaths have been reported from Italy, where more than 3,400 people have died, followed by China with 3,132 fatalities. At least 2,44,500 people are infected by the virus.
"The health, safety and well-being of all athletes, their entourage, officials and the greater badminton community remains the top priority for all relevant parties," the BWF said.
The European Championships were scheduled in Ukraine, while Asia event was to be held in Philippines. Meanwhile, Badminton Pan Am also said it was no longer feasible to stage the XXIV Pan Am Individual Championships 2020 in Peru.
The tournament was originally planned for Guatemala City. All five tournaments were slated to be played within the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifying period, but will no longer contribute to Olympic qualifying as they will now fall outside the qualification window. (UNI)