Kuala Lumpur, May 28: Following the announcement of a rescheduled tournament calendar for 2020, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced the updated qualifying regulations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled to take place in Tokyo next year.
The decision comes after the Tokyo Olympics was postponed for exactly a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. To ease the tension among the shuttlers, the BWF has put up the guidelines for the qualifying tournaments. These qualifying regulations were approved by both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC). "The priority was to ensure a fair solution to the disrupted qualification system in order to qualify players for the postponed Games," the statement read.
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said, "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."
Lund believes that these norms would be a fair solution for all athletes as it will be the first and main priority to conduct these tournaments as part of badminton and Para badminton’s adjusted return due to the coronavirus.
Though there will be tournaments scheduled in the latter half of 2020, the BWF has decided 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. Below are the guidelines stated by the BWF for Olympics Games as well as Paralympic Games.
BWF stated, "All ranking points earned at tournaments completed during the original Olympic qualification period will be maintained under the Race to Tokyo ranking list."
BWF will declare an extended Olympic qualification period will be introduced from Week 1-17 in 2021. This qualification period will also include the select number of tournaments that were postponed, canceled or suspended due to COVID-19. However, 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, " it further added.
BWF informed, "Only one tournament within the original Paralympic qualification period was canceled 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. A date for the Spanish Para-Badminton International will be announced in due process."
All ranking points earned at tournaments completed during the original Paralympic qualification period will be maintained under the Race to Tokyo Paralympic Ranking list.
Lund added, “This change will allow players to complete their planned run for Paralympic qualification. It will also allow players to be able to live up to eligibility criteria as stated in the regulations, which is a minimum of three tournaments.”
Having said that, last week, the BWF had announced a rescheduled calendar of tournaments to be conducted in the latter half of 2020 due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In the rescheduled calendar, it had 22 BWF tournaments in just 5 months with few of the tournaments clashing with one another.