The Badminton World Federation (BWF) will have a council meeting this week to provide more clarity on the upcoming World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China (December 14-18).
Since the beginning of November, COVID-19 cases in the province shot up to three digits with November 8 recording one of the highest daily new cases this year (608), compared to only a handful new daily cases a few months ago.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) secretary-general Kenny Goh said the safety of the shuttlers are of the utmost priority.
“We are hoping to get more clarity on this, before making a decision. The COVID-19 standard operating procedures in China are tight.
“The players will have to be in Bangkok for three days for several mandatory PCR tests before they can even depart to Guangzhou,” he said.
The BWF had only in late September confirmed the US$1.5 million (RM7.05 million) season finale in Guangzhou, with its secretary general Thomas Lund saying “it was a positive step for the sport to see elite level badminton in China once again.”
For the record, two other events (China Open & Fuzhou China Open) had already been cancelled this year due to the pandemic.
To date, the Malaysian shuttlers already qualifying for the World Tour Finals include Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (men’s doubles), Vivian Hoo-Lim Chiew Sien Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah (women’s doubles) and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai & Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (mixed doubles).
Lee Zii Jia hovers right outside the top eight spot but can still make the cut if he does well at the Australia Open (November 15-20).
The Asian champion, who is scheduled to participate as the top seed and take on a qualifier in the first round, must perform at the Sydney meet and beat Lu Guangzhou, who occupies the final slot to the season finale, in a potential second-round meeting.