BWF cancels China, Japan Opens

TOKYO • Badminton’s prestigious China and Japan Opens were cancelled yesterday by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) as it announced that four September tournaments in Asia would not be played because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Taipei Open from Sept 1-6, the Korea Open (Sept 8-13), the China Open (Sept 15-20) and the Japan Open (Sept 22-27) were all axed.

“We are deeply disappointed to cancel the tournaments, but feel that the wellbeing of everyone involved is most important at this time,” BWF secretary general Thomas Lund said in a statement, yesterday.

“We share the disappointment of many around the world who were looking forward to the return of badminton. We also appreciate all of the continued support from our fans and partners as we continue to navigate the remainder of the 2020 season,” he added.

Lund asserted that the international badminton governing body will continue to adjust to ensure any badminton activity fully complies with the rules and regulations set by the World Health Organisation, local health authorities, and international and domestic travel restrictions.

The pandemic has upended sports events around the world, from the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to the cancellation of Wimbledon.

On Tuesday, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Pan Pacific Open in Japan, one of Asia’s top tennis tournaments, was cancelled for the first time.

Last week, the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals’ Tour and women’s WTA Tour announced all tennis tournaments in China for the rest of the year had been cancelled, including the Shanghai Masters and WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

Badminton is massively popular across Asia, and the China Open is one of only two top-ranked World Super Tour 1000 series tournaments on the calendar. Meanwhile, the Japan Open is one of the five annual World Tour Super 750 events.

In a normal year devoid of the travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, both would have attracted fields containing all the world’s top-ranked men and women players.

Other events in Asia such as the Super 500 Hong Kong Open in November, and December’s World Tour finals in China remain listed on the calendar, but the BWF cautioned that a decision on future events “will be made in due course”. — AFP