Olympics Badminton Qualifiers | Other Sports

Coronavirus | Malaysian Open postponed

Saina and Srikanth.  

The Badminton Association of Malaysia and Badminton World Federation have jointly agreed to postpone the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open championship scheduled to start from May 25 to 30, according to a BWF release on Friday.

“All attempts were made by the organisers and the BWF to provide a safe tournament environment for all the participants, but the recent urge in cases left no choice but to postpone the tournament,” it said.

The Malaysian and the Singapore Opens (the second one to follow immediately after the first one) are the last two qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics to be held this July.

Qualifying window

Importantly, the BWF confirmed the rescheduled tournament will no longer take place in the Olympic qualifying window.

New tournament dates will be confirmed at a later date.

This is a big blow to the hopefuls from India including the London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, former World No. 1 K. Srikanth and women’s doubles combine of Ashwani Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy.

“Yes, this is a huge blow to our chances. With the postponement of Malaysian Open and the 21-day quarantine period mandatory for the Singapore Open starting on June 1, it is almost over for us,” said Sikki Reddy, aiming to make her first appearance in Olympics.

Ashwani also felt disappointed as this move comes close after the India Open in Delhi was postponed last month.

“It is unfortunate just when we were really optimistic of making an impact and gaining crucial ranking points to make the cut thanks to the preparations under Mathias Boe (doubles coach). This postponement has hurt badly,” she said.

Edge for Europeans

“The Europeans have an edge over the Asians because their continental championship is over and they have picked up important points compared to us as we didn’t have it,” Ashwani said.

“We were looking to playing in the Olympics. We have been enjoying the training for the last few months after a pretty good showing in the few events we played early this year,” she said.

World championship bronze medallist B. Sai Praneeth, who is assured of an Olympics slot by virtue of his ranking, also rued the missed opportunity of competing in two majors before the Olympics.

“It would have been great if I were to play in the Malaysian and the Singapore Opens. Luckily, there is no anxiety of playing in them to pick points but I would have definitely enjoyed having real match practice,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 5:41:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/coronavirus-malaysian-open-postponed/article34509172.ece

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