The India Open Super 500 tournament, one of the last three qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics, was on Monday postponed due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Due to rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, #BAI in consultation with @bwfmedia has decided to postpone #YonexSunriseIndiaOpen2021 tournament. #yonexSunriseIndiaOpen2021#badminton pic.twitter.com/yPqOUbuwEo
— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) April 19, 2021
“The decision was made in consultation and collaboration with local health authorities in Delhi and the Badminton World Federation,” the BWF said in its statement.
“All attempts were made by organisers to conduct a safe tournament environment for all participants, but the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and gravity of the situation in Delhi left BAI no choice but to postpone the tournament,” the statement added.
The BWF World Tour Super 500 event had already seen withdrawals of 13 players, including top names like reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin, former world champion Ratchanok Intanon and BWF World Tour Finals champion Anders Antonsen among others.
“We had an entry of 228 players and close to 300 people gathering including coaches, support staff and officials and the circumstances are such that the 2021 edition of the India Open seems, for now, a very risky affair,” BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania said.
The tournament offered ranking points for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. It would have been crucial to the chances of Olympic bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal and former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth of making it to Tokyo 2020.
The qualification period for badminton ends on June 15 with the Singapore Open on June 1 scheduled as the last qualification event before the Games.
The tournament was to be held at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi, which will be in lockdown for six days starting Monday to keep the rise in COVID cases in check.