The 2020 edition of the Thomas and Uber Cup has been postponed, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said on Tuesday. A new date is not expected until 2021.
The decision comes in the wake of a number of teams, including top guns like South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia, deciding against travelling to Denmark for the October 3-11 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia, Chinese Taipei and Algeria had pulled out of the event earlier.
“BWF, in collaboration with Badminton Denmark, has for many months been preparing for a safe return to international badminton. This includes going to extreme lengths to preserve the health and safety of all participants such as implementing a bubble system to create a safe badminton ecosystem,” the BWF said.
“However, these are exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in and while a return to international badminton remains a priority for the BWF, the health and safety of the entire badminton community is of utmost importance.”
“It is good that the organisers have taken this decision. After all, player safety is equally important,” world champion PV Sindhu told Sportstar.
The Thomas Cup is the official world team championship for men and the Uber Cup is the women’s equivalent. The biennial event was scheduled to be held in Europe for the first time since 1982.
The latest decision means international badminton’s return will be further pushed to October 13 with the 2020 Denmark Open Super 750 event in Odense now scheduled as the first event to be held post the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
The international governing body has also decided to scrap the Denmark Masters 2020 – slated for October 20-25 -- as they feel ‘it is no longer feasible to conduct this additional event’.
The BWF World Tour is expected to head for an Asian leg in November, which will include two Super 1000 events and the BWF World Tour Finals. The dates and the venues for the Asian events are yet to be confirmed.
Srikanth, Sindhu in the fray
The Badminton Association of India (BAI), meanwhile, had announced a strong team for the Thomas and Uber Cup with most of the top-ranked shuttlers confirming their availability for the same. India has never won either the Thomas or Uber Cup.
The women’s side had the likes of Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu and the bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics Saina Nehwal, along with doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy.
However, the cancellation of the Thomas and Uber Cup was welcomed by the Indian camp.
“Life is more important than anything else. And, with many big guns from Asia withdrawing because of the pandemic, this development was on the expected lines.
“I personally feel it is not the right time to play and take a huge risk on the health front,” PV Sindhu said.