New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak which is spreading its footprint across the country, the India Open, scheduled to be played from March 24 to 29 in the national capital, might be played behind closed doors without spectators.
In a joint statement, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Wednesday said that the tournament will be held as per schedule.
“Enhanced precautionary measures will be in place to ensure the welfare and safety of players, their entourage and officials. This includes the likelihood of the tournament being staged behind closed doors without spectators,” BAI said.
Question marks were raised over the Super 500 tournament after the Indian association had written to the world body on its view of hosting the tournament under the prevailing uncertain circumstances.
So far, five tournaments on the BWF calendar across February and March — Polish Open, Vietnam International Challenge, Portugese International Championships, German Open and China Masters — have been postponed or cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Seven Indian players pulled out of the All England Open last week. With the Olympic qualification window supposed to close on April 30, currently just two Indian singles players, P.V. Sindhu and Sai Praneeth are safe within the top-16 cutoff zone while players like Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are in the race to seal a spot for the Tokyo Olympics.