The Badminton World Federation (BWF) strongly defended their revamped calendar for the 2020 season after it came under intense scrutiny from top shuttlers.
The BWF last week announced new dates of the tournaments on their roster after the initial calendar was shredded due to coronavirus pandemic which has brought the entire world to a standstill.
Former world no.1 and Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, her husband and fellow badminton player Parupalli Kashyap and World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth were among those who took to social media to criticise the revamped calendar.
“5 months non stop travel … biggest question is what are the international guidelines of travelling during this #coronavirus pandemic,” Saina had tweeted.
BWF general secretary Thomas Lund, however, stated all the players aren’t expected to feature in every tournament. He also said their priority is to get the sport back on the court and the new calendar gives them a roadmap to work towards that goal.
“It is not expected that each player will play or should play all tournaments. The revamped calendar simply provides an opportunity for players at all levels to resume competitive play and continue their professional lives once we are able to start,” Lund was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
“It is expected that players will be selective about which tournaments they play. Some will play in more tournaments because they may not reach the final rounds, others will select not to play week after week as they play more matches in each tournament.
“This is not that different to what players and coaches do anyway under normal circumstances, although they do have more choices in this condensed calendar,” he added.
Lund also revealed BWF can take into consideration the idea proposed by India national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand regarding hosting multiple tournaments at one venue, cutting down on players’ travel time significantly.
“The suggestion from Gopichand is an interesting idea, but comes with many complexities, including financial and commercial challenges. We are looking into all options to ensure a safe and fair return to badminton,” he said.