The Badminton World Federation has agreed to find a fair solution to the qualification of shuttlers for Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, which were postponed on Tuesday in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
BWF has also agreed to look at the possibility of freezing the world rankings of players with badminton events currently suspended.
“BWF will review any impacts on the Olympic and Paralympic qualification system to ensure a fair solution is found to qualify players for the postponed Games,” the federation said in a statement.
“BWF, in the short-term, is also looking into the possibility of freezing World Rankings until international tournaments start again. However, we are still working on the technical solution to ensure the freezing and eventual un-freezing of World Rankings works fairly for all players and we will announce this shortly,” the statement added.
Shuttlers in the singles competition have to be inside top-16 of world rankings to qualify for the Olympics. In doubles, a country can field one pair if they are in the top 16 and two if both pairs are in the top eight.
The BWF had earlier this month suspended all the HSBC BWF World Tour and other tournaments from March 16 to April 12 before further suspending five more tournaments which included the three continental championships falling inside the the April 26 deadline for Olympic qualification.
But now with the International Olympic Committee postponing the Olympics to next year, a few Indian players believed it was time BWF immediately freezes the ranking.
Here’s the BWF statement in full:
Today, we stand in solidarity with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee in welcoming the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
BWF fully supports the decision made yesterday by IOC President Thomas Bach, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, and the Tokyo Organising Committee to “reschedule the Games to a date beyond 2020 but no later than summer 2021”.
As we have learnt in recent months, balancing the many necessary considerations for the whole of sport has been a complex exercise, so we are supportive of how difficult this decision would have been for the IOC and TOCOG.
We must now allow all parties to work toward good, sensible and thorough conclusions for the benefit of all involved.
We are still at this point left with some uncertainty on new dates for the Games but we ask for patience from the entire badminton community to allow the BWF, in collaboration and consensus with the IOC, IPC and TOCOG, to gain a better understanding of what the next 12 months will look like.
For our athletes, we will review any impacts on the Olympic and Paralympic qualification system to ensure a fair solution is found to qualify players for the postponed Games.
BWF, in the short-term, is also looking into the possibility of freezing World Rankings until international tournaments start again. However, we are still working on the technical solution to ensure the freezing and eventual un-freezing of World Rankings works fairly for all players and we will announce this shortly.
Right now, our immediate thoughts are with everyone affected by this global pandemic. From the start, the health, safety and well-being of all athletes, their entourage, officials and the greater badminton fraternity have been our No.1 priority.
At the same time, we have strong considerations to protect the key structures of our sport that will ensure it survives in these volatile and uncertain times. We appreciate that an important part of this is the livelihood of our international badminton players in the current situation where very few tournaments will be played over the coming months.
BWF will continue to monitor all developments regarding COVID-19, and in line with advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), various health experts, IOC and IPC, will make the best choices in the interests of international players and the general badminton community.
We also fully support the IOC, IPC and TOCOG in these times and will contribute all we can to making the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics the greatest in history.