Top badminton stars from around the globe have slammed the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for taking the outbreak of the novel coronavirus “too lightly” and putting the players as well as the officials and others involved at risk by going ahead with the international tournaments instead of cancelling or postponing them.
Notably, the coronavirus outbreak, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday, has led to nearly 5,000 deaths worldwide.
The coronavirus outbreak severely impacted some of the most high profile sporting events worldwide be it the Indian Premier League (IPL) or Serie A and La Liga matches. Even the English Premier League matches are likely to be suspended.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, former World Number 1 Kidambi Srikanth and former top 10 player Hans-Kristian Vittinghus have all expressed concerns and asked the BWF to suspend or cancel the world tournaments.
“I honestly don’t get it! We should not be travelling the world playing badminton,” Denmark’s Vittinghus, said in a social media post.
I honestly don’t get it! 🤔🏸🌎⛔️ We should not be traveling the world playing badminton. Text is copied from my Facebook page. #badminton #corona #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/VkhyPtMnSQ
— HK Vittinghus (@hkvittinghus) March 12, 2020
“With some tournaments being played, while others are being cancelled, and the Olympic qualifying year still ongoing, players are left with choices between risking not only their own health, but also the health of the ones around them,” he added.
“… or giving up on tournaments, that others choose to play, risking to lose out on not only the Olympics but also ranking spots that gives access to all the other big events. We should not be put in this position,” he further stated.
Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal, who is currently in Birmingham for the All England Championships, tweeted, “I don’t get it too @bwfmedia #CoronavirusPandemic.”
I dnt get it too @bwfmedia #CoronavirusPandemic https://t.co/EyIjrn7sF6
— Saina Nehwal (@NSaina) March 12, 2020
“I agree with you (Vittinghus) and @bwfmedia should think about players safety,” Srikanth echoed similar views.
On the other hand, Parupalli Kashyap, took to his Twitter account to list down a few things that BWF needs to do.
“Things to be done by @bwfmedia 1)Suspend all tournaments immediately 2)Freeze the current ranking and decide on qualification on a later date,” he tweeted.
Things to be done by @bwfmedia 1)Suspend all tournaments immediately 2)Freeze the current ranking and decide on qualification on a later date .
— Parupalli Kashyap (@parupallik) March 13, 2020
It remains to be seen if the BWF indeed takes some action and either postpones or cancels world tournament amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.