December date pencilled in for badminton's India Open
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) is hoping to organise the India Open Super 500 event in December-January provided the COVID-19 threat is contained and the government grants the necessary permissions for the same.
The BAI General Secretary Ajay K Singhania said that the Badminton World Federation (BWF) had written to the Indian body asking them for a slot for the event, which was initially scheduled to be held in March but was suspended following the pandemic.
“We told them we are ready to conduct the India Open in December or January but it all depends on how this global health crisis comes under control and if we get the government approval,” Singhania told the Press Trust of India detailing their reply.
“We received the mail (from BWF) last week, asking us if we can host the event in September but gauging the uncertainties around, we have given December as the first option and January as the second alternate. But it depends on a lot of factors. Right now, international travel is also banned, so let’s see.”
Like most of the sporting events around the world, the badminton community is also feeling the heat of the coronavirus outbreak with events being either suspended or cancelled. The BWF has also frozen the world rankings and suspended the Olympic qualification period.
The All England Open was the last event to be held from March 11-15 before the BWF was called into action in the wake of the pandemic.
Thomas and Uber Cup postponed
On Wednesday, the BWF also announced that the 2020 Thomas and Uber Cup was further pushed to October 3-11.
Scheduled to be held in Aarhus, Denmark, the team championships were slated for August 15-23, but with the Danish government extending a ban on ‘larger gatherings’ in Denmark until the end of August, the BWF has decided to push the event further.
Meanwhile, back home, the BAI is also working towards ensuring the elite shuttlers can soon hit the courts.
The BAI General Secretary said that they were in talks with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to reopen the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, which has been shut since a nation-wide lockdown was announced in March.
“We have requested SAI to allow us to open Pullela Gopichand Academy whenever it’s safe after May 3. All the shuttlers have been trying to stay fit at home. We are hopeful that they can start preparing for the Olympics at the earliest.” Singhania said.
The Hyderabad centre is also the venue for badminton’s national camp. But with the academy shut, the shuttlers have been forced to stay indoors and work on their fitness with coaches and trainers conducting online sessions regularly.