Tokyo Olympics-bound shuttlers can take a collective breath of relief after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) decided to push the remainder of the Olympics qualification period to the first five months of 2021.
Talks of a possible restart in the qualification were also dismissed after the world body confirmed that ranking points earned by players in tournaments during the first qualification period (May 2019-April 2020) would be intact under the ranking list.
So even though there would be a restart to the badminton calendar scheduled from August onwards, the tournaments would serve as a warm-up for players looking to make the cut at the Tokyo Olympics, now taking place from July 23rd to August 8th next year.
"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.
"We feel this 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," said BWF secretary-general Thomas Lund.
The Olympics qualifying period, set to restart from January 4th to May 2nd, would include 24 tournaments in total, including the Malaysia Open and Singapore Open, which were all part of this year’s qualification.
The world body would next have to determine the mechanics of their revamped calendar for 2020.
BWF came under criticism after releasing a jam-packed calendar that includes 22 tournaments in five months.
They are now in the process of amending the regulations to give the shuttlers some flexibility in choosing their tournaments once the badminton season is allowed to resume.