Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], Feb 1 : The Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Chinese Badminton Association (CBA) have confirmed that the Lingshui China Masters 2020 has been postponed until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak in China.
“BWF and CBA have considered all necessary health, safety, and logistical risks and both parties believe it is sensible to postpone the tournament at this time. It may be noted that many players have already withdrawn from the tournament,” BWF said in a statement.
However, exact replacement dates are yet to be established but alternative options are being discussed with a new time slot for May earmarked as a possibility. Earlier, the tournament was scheduled from February 25 to March 1.
“Both BWF and CBA are in dialogue with the tournament host as well as Member Associations and players to adjust travel plans and revise tournament planning,” the statement said.
The Lingshui China Masters 2020 was one of the qualifying events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With a likely new date for May or later, ranking points from this event will now no longer contribute to Olympic qualifying as it will be outside the qualification window.
“The BWF is continuing to monitor all official updates on the coronavirus and is mindful that BWF World Tour and other BWF-sanctioned tournaments may be affected, but there are no concrete plans or decisions at this point to change the status of any other events,” the statement read.
“The BWF can also confirm that Badminton Asia is reviewing its flagship event, the 2020 Badminton Asia Championships to be staged in Wuhan, China, and the BWF will support Badminton Asia and CBA in this process. It is, however, too early at this time to make any final conclusions related to this event,” it added.
The 2020 Badminton Asia Championships falls within the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification window and is one of the last opportunities for athletes to qualify for the Olympics Games.
The virus originated in Wuhan, China, in December and has since then spread to various cities around the world. China has imposed quarantine and travel restrictions, affecting the movement of 56 million people in more than a dozen cities, amid fears that the transmission rate will accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year.
Health authorities around the world are taking action to prevent a global pandemic as the virus continues to spread, with cases reported in Australia, France, the United States and seven Asian countries besides China.