Recent Thailand Open finalists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik have opted to skip the All-England Championships (March 17-21) to focus their attention on tournaments that offer Olympic qualifying points instead.
That means the tournament’s 2019 men’s doubles finalist will make their European trip to compete at the Swiss Open (March 2-7) only and return home after that.
As the All-England is not an Olympic qualifier, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) did not make it mandatory for shuttlers to compete.
“We told the players they have the right to refuse because COVID-19 cases are high in England. The All-England is also not an Olympic qualifier.
“Aaron-Wooi Yik will look at a few Olympics qualifiers in Asia to strengthen their ranking for the Tokyo Games,” national coaching director Wong Choong Hann told The Star.
Besides them and men's doubles Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin, others are expected make the trip to England after the Swiss Open.
While new COVID-19 cases dipped below the 15,000 mark in the last few days, England was still recording high daily fatalities as Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to ease lockdown in stages.
With the German Open also cancelled due to the pandemic, the shuttlers will have to make the most of their trip to Europe.
With the Malaysian Open also set to be postponed, the number of tournaments that offer Olympics points was reduced, leaving the Badminton World Federation (BWF) scrambling for alternatives.
As of now, the Tokyo Olympics is still scheduled to go ahead even though there were calls by various parties to postpone it.