Badminton Desk

BWF Releases New Calendar, Faces Heat from Players

By: GoBadminton Desk
Date: 22 May, 2020
Image Courtesy: Badminton Desk
The Badminton World Federation has come under some severe criticism, over the revised calendar that the world body put out in anticipation of the resumption of the sport. The ongoing corona virus pandemic shut down all of badminton following the All England Tournament in Birmingham, England in the middle of March this year.

While the global pandemic has wrecked sports calendars across the globe, the Badminton World Federation had earlier come under severe criticism for not shutting down the sport earlier than it did, and now is under fire once again for seemingly jumping the gun becoming the first major global body to come out with a crammed calendar. This, without any clarity on the future of many lockdowns that are currently underway and the quarantine rules guiding international travel, is certainly a tad premature to think that we may have any meaningful resumption of the sport in the near future.

"It has been a difficult task to plan for badminton's return. It is a condensed calendar, but we are confident this provides the framework to allow us to start again when it is safe and logistically possible," BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said in a media release.

The calendar published by BWF, earmarks the Hyderabad Open in August to be the first of the tournaments to kick-off the blocks with the Syed Modi International in November and the Indian Open in New Delhi to follow in December as the marquee events in the country. With over two and half months to go before the first expected events, there is little clarity on the resumption of international travel, foreign visas and quarantine rules (if any). Also, some parts of the world are experiencing a second wave and it is unlikely that India will be any exception.

While the start date of August might not be all that ambitious, certainly packing 22-elite level tournaments in the space of 5 months does look so. Injuries, multiple marquee tournaments in the same week, nonstop travel are some of the key issues being highlighted by the players, who seem rather unimpressed at the scheduling of the events.

The effect of the new scheduling on the rankings of the players is another big concern, especially with the re-scheduled Olympics to be held in 2021. While the world body did assure that they are working on a consensus model to free the rankings in a manner that any extreme drop in rankings is avoided.

Reacting to the developments, former Olympic Bronze Medalist and one of India’s top shuttlers took to twitter and said, “5 months nonstop travel ... biggest question is what are the international guidelines of travelling during this #coronavirus pandemic??”
B. Sai Praneeth, a frontrunner to be India’s men’s single’s representative at the Summer Olympics remained equally unimpressed.

"It is stupid to expect players to play 22 tournaments in five months,” said Sai unequivocally.

\Parupalli Kashyap, who earlier took the world body to task for not shutting down earlier and putting the lives of the players at risk wondered how the calendar was finalized without factoring in the international travel restrictions. Also, the fact that the shuttlers are yet to commence practice is another factor that Kashyap highlighted.

Doubles specialists Chirag Shetty & Satwik Sairaj also expressed their disappointment with the calendar. Lack of any meaningful break, possibility of injuries is a major disappointment said the duo.

Also, some of the events are such scheduled that the players face a very difficult choice in picking one over the other. For example, the Syed Modi International and Indonesian Open are both scheduled in the same week, making it really hard for the Indian players to make a choice.

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