The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has announced the cancellation of four Asian events last week due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation of the tournaments also directly will affect the leading Sri Lankan shuttlers in their bid to improve their world rankings. Niluka Karunaratne, Dinuka Karunaratne (younger brother of Niluka), promising doubles pair Buwaneka Gunatilleka and Sachin Dias from the men’s events while Thilini Hendahewa and Kavidi Sirimannage the top women doubles pair were also looking to take part in more International tournaments to improve their world rankings. Niluka is world-ranked 114(last February). He emerged runner-up in the Uganda International tournament but lost to Hungarian shuttler in the final, which was Niluka’s last International event in 2020.
Niluka the most experienced Sri Lankan shuttler has already taken part in 2012 London and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Olympics is expecting to take part in his third in a row while Dinuka who is the present National champion is also trying to get his maiden Olympic chance in Tokyo Olympics. Earlier former National champion Thilini Jayasinghe created history by taking part in two consecutive Olympics.
After consultation with the individual hosts, the BWF was forced to dismiss the Yonex Taipei Open from September 1 to 6, as well as the Korea Open in Incheon from September 8 to 13. Furthermore, the Victor China Open in Changzhou from September 15 to 20 and the Daihatsu Yonex Japan Open in Tokyo from September 22 to 27 will not go ahead either.
According to the BWF Secretary Thomas Lund, “These decisions to cancel tournaments are made in the best interest of the health of the players, spectators, volunteers and Member Associations,” He also added.
“We are deeply disappointed to have to cancel tournaments, but feel that the well-being of everyone involved is most important at this time.”
“This is the first time the Japan Open Badminton tournament has been cancelled in history. Most of the leading shuttlers normally take part in this Japan tournament to improve their world ranking.”
Meanwhile, the BWF will continue to adjust to changes to ensure any badminton activity 100 percent complies with the rules and regulations of the World Health Organization, local health.
Sri Lanka Badminton also looking to conduct domestic tournaments after the COVID-19 pandemic / They already commence their National pool training.