Ability to host tournaments dependent on govt guidelines, says BAI


By Rohit Mundayur

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS): The Badminton Association of India (BAI) said that hosting of the Hyderabad Open, the Syed Modi International and the Indian Open is completely dependent upon the situation around the coronavirus pandemic and the central and respective state governments' guidelines.

"Right now we are not even able to open up our offices, so there is no question of planning tournaments," BAI General Secretary Ajay Kumar Singhania told IANS. "We have already made it clear to the BWF that it will happen only as per government guidelines. The scenario right now is that obviously no tournaments can be held. We are completely in the dark on what is going to happen."

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) released its revamped tournament calendar for 2020 according to which the international badminton tour resumes with the Hyderabad Open in India from August 11 to 16. The country then hosts the Syed Modi International in Lucknow from November 17 to 22 before the all-important India Open in New Delhi from December 8 to 13.

The BWF had earlier asked national federations feedback on framing a new calendar late April. While the BWF gave tentative dates in reply, it also had stated that its ability to host tournaments is dependent solely on what the situation is at that time period.

"So that is something that we made clear very early on and even in their statement they have said that they will respect the guidelines of the respective countries. We also said that in our mail to the BWF when they asked us when we can host tournaments," said Singhania.

Since the announcement, a number of players including former world no.1 and London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and 2019 World Championships bronze medalist Sai Praneeth ridiculed the BWF for the calendar.

Singhania said that it is difficult to foresee how players from India, or most other countries in the world, will be able to travel for these events. "No, right now there are no flights. No one knows when that will be solved," he said.

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) formulated by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) allowed for badminton players to start outdoor training. However, it also stated that the guidelines of the respective state government holds precedence.

Hence, the national camp, usually held at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, cannot be opened with the Telangana government banning sports activities in its guidelines for the extension of the lockdown to May 31.

 

  

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