Former India doubles coach and Denmark shuttler Mathias Boe has lashed out at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) over the cramped international calendar, which has resulted in several players getting injured after participating in back-to-back tournaments in the past three months.
The ongoing World Tour Finals in Bali, Indonesia is already the eighth tournament in 10 weeks of the international calendar happening after a break post the Tokyo Olympics. Before the World Tour Finals, there was Sudirman Cup, Thomas and Uber Cup, and five World Tour events taking place.
“What should have been a feast for fans have ended up being a joke. @bwfmedia what did u except demanding players to playback to back for more than 3 months in a row? Do u care about the players’ well-being at all? No. of injuries have never been higher and level never been lower,” wrote an angry Boe on Twitter with the picture of men’s singles Group A results.
In that picture, it shows that former world number 1 Kento Momota of Japan and Rasmus Gemke of Denmark had to retire from their respective matches against India’s Lakshya Sen and Denmark’s Olympics champion Viktor Axelsen due to back and knee injuries respectively.
Momota, who featured in six events, had recently retired hurt during the French Open semi-finals against compatriot Kanta Tsuneyama and had also complained of being “very, very tired” after losing in the Indonesia Open semi-finals last week.
In response to his tweet, a badminton fan tweeted in justifying Boe’s point. “Retired/walkover count- Thomas/Uber Cup 2020: 7, Denmark Open 2021: 11, French Open 2021: 6, Hylo Open 2021: 6, Indonesia Masters 2021: 3, Indonesia Open 2021: 3 and World Tour Finals 2021: 4. 40 injuries in 8 weeks.”
With a screenshot of his tweet posted on Instagram, Boe further wrote, “Players get a fine for criticism of @bwf.official so I will speak on their behalf. The post-pandemic schedule has been outrageous and this is the result. Injuries on injuries on injuries. It’s difficult to understand Mr. Lund and Mr. Hoyer quarterbacks at BWF once use to be world-class players, both experienced loads of injuries due to tight tournament schedule. #IFeel4ThePlayersAndFans.”
On Thursday, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) tweeted about the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty pulling out from the tournament. “MD pair @Shettychirag04 & @satwiksairaj have decided to pull out of the ongoing #BWFWorldTourFinals2021 due to an injury. Comeback stronger champs,” BAI Media had tweeted.
Rankireddy and Shetty had become the first Indian men’s doubles pair to qualify for the prestigious season-ending tournament, but the injury to Satwiksairaj marred the Indian pair’s chances.