Doubts raised over badminton's India Open hosting

Yet another crucial Olympic badminton qualification event hangs in the balance.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

The India Open 2020 is the latest on the list of Tokyo 2020 qualification events on the brink of postponement or cancellation due to the growing global threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

If it doesn't go ahead as planned on March 24-29, the $400,000 BWF Super 500 tour stop will join other such 2020 postponements as the German Open, Polish Open and the China Masters, among others.

The news comes in the wake of a travel advisory issued by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which stipulates that people arriving from or having travel history since February 20 in South Korea, Iran and Italy have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period on arrival in India.

The 14-day quarantine rule was already in effect for travellers arriving from China and Hong Kong in an effort to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, the Indian Health Ministry and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) have directed the Badminton Association of India (BAI) for an urgent update on the health of Chinese shuttlers from the Chinese Badminton Association (CBA). The response received will determine what call the ministries will take next.

China was expected to send an over 60-player contingent, including women’s world no. 1 Chen Yufei.

“If the BWF wishes to cancel the event, it’s up to them, as they are the final authority,” said BAI secretary-general Ajay Singhania, in a statement to the Times of India.

A blow to Indian badminton players

With the 2020 Olympics drawing near, such event cancellations are further whittling down the hopes of many Indian badminton players' looking to make the cut for the Games.

Among the men, while Sai Praneeth and Srikanth Kidambi can breathe easy in 10th and 12th in the BWF rankings, 25th-ranked Parupalli Kashyap will be ruing yet another shot at improving his standing.

Parupalli Kashyap

Behind Parupalli Kashyap, the race is incredibly close, with HS Prannoy in 27th, trailed by teenager Lakshya Sen in 29th and the Verma brothers — Sourabh and Sameer — in 30th and 31st respectively.

Among the Indian badminton’s women, however, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, in 6th and 18th respectively, are far ahead of 79th-ranked Ashmita Chaliha, the next Indian eve.