The rescheduling of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 (23 July – 8 August) may not be the ideal outcome for most shuttlers who have qualified, but the delay should come as a huge boost for defending champion Chen Long.
The world number five, who beat Lee Chong Wei in the men's singles final in Brazil four years ago, would have headed to Tokyo among one of the outsiders to clinch gold, but he has one year to revive his fortunes under the guidance of their famed coach Li Mao.
Li returned to the Chinese national team last year after a 21-year hiatus in bid to change the flagging fortunes of the men’s singles department.
At present, Chen (5th) and Shi Yuqi (9th) lead China’s charge for international glory, but both shuttlers have not been at their best for some time.
According to a Chinese media analysis, the 31-year-old Chen has faced a tough time against the likes of Kento Momota, Anthony Ginting and Viktor Axelsen who are all at least five years his junior.
Most recently, he lost to Lee Zii Jia at the All England Championships, right before the BWF World Tour came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Li now in the picture, the 2016 Olympics gold medalist has a chance to use his age to his advantage.
Since taking over, Li has made changes to the Chinese players' training routine and style of play.
Chen showed improvement towards the tail end of last season by winning French Open to end a one-year title drought.
The Olympics delay is also a much welcomed boost for Shi, who has struggled with a ligament injury for most parts of 2019.
He has yet to reach his peak, but has the opportunity to do so now with Li by his side.