An extended qualification period for the Tokyo Olympics will be introduced next year and ranking points earned at tournaments during the original qualification phase will be maintained, the Badminton World Federation said on Wednesday.
With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting the international calendar, BWF was unable to complete the last six weeks of its one-year qualifying period, which ended on April 28. But with the Tokyo Games postponed due to the global health crisis, the governing body decided to extend the Olympic qualification period to next year.
“An extended Olympic qualification period will be introduced from Week 1-17 in 2021 and includes the select number of tournaments that were postponed, cancelled or suspended due to Covid-19,” BWF said in a release.
BWF also said the postponed Olympic qualifiers is likely to be held in the same week next year as originally planned in 2020. The BWF also said that the ranking points gathered by players during the qualification period between April 29, 2019 to April 26, 2020 will be maintained.
The BWF had earlier frozen the world rankings, making the standings on March 17 the basis for entry and seedings when it restarts the international calendar.
The governing body had last week unveiled a revised calendar for the remainder of 2020 to salvage the disruption-hit season which did not go down well with players. However, BWF made it clear that those tournaments won’t be included in the Olympic qualification.
“It has been a thorough process with the close and valuable consultation of the Athletes’ Commission to consider how best to make adjustments to the Olympic and Paralympic qualification system,” BWF secretary general Thomas Lund said.
“We feel this is a fair solution for all athletes and it will be our first and main priority to conduct these tournaments as part of badminton and Para badminton’s adjusted return in the wake of Covid-19.
“Although we aim to resume international tournaments towards the end of 2020, we have chosen to resume the Olympic and Paralympic qualification process only in 2021 to ensure that travel restrictions and other related impacts of Covid-19 are limited.”
Here are the key points from the update issued by BWF:
- All ranking points earned at tournaments completed during the original Olympic qualification period will be maintained under the Race to Tokyo ranking list.
- An extended Olympic qualification period will be introduced from Week 1-17 in 2021 and includes the select number of tournaments that were postponed, cancelled or suspended due to Covid-19.
- These eligible tournaments within the new qualifying period must be completed by Week 17 in 2021.
- Tournaments rescheduled for the end of 2020 outlined in the revamped BWF Tournament Calendar 2020 released last week will not count towards qualification; only the 2021 editions of each tournament.
- Such eligible tournaments within this new qualifying period should preferably take place in the same corresponding week from 2020 to 2021.
- If this is not possible, BWF will allow sanctioning on another date within Week 1-17 in 2021 subject to approval.
- Players from China and Hong Kong China will be eligible to earn points from the 2021 Badminton Asia Team Championships as representatives from those Member Associations were not able to participate in the 2020 Badminton Asia Team Championships in Manila due to Covid-19 travel restrictions imposed on athletes from those nations and territories by the Government of the Philippines.
- This approach has only been implemented for this singular team tournament impacted by the Covid-19 situation as no other team tournaments are included in the extended Olympic qualification period. However, players are offered a range of individual tournaments to enter.
- Only one tournament within the original Paralympic qualification period was cancelled due to Covid-19 – the Spanish Para Badminton International 2020. It has now been included in the adjusted qualification system within a period from 1 January to 28 March 2021.
- All ranking points earned at tournaments completed during the original Paralympic qualification period will be maintained under the Race to Tokyo Paralympic ranking list. A date for the Spanish Para Badminton International will be announced in due process.
(With PTI inputs)