The likes of Lee Zii Jia, Pearly Tan and M. Thinaah will have to wait a while longer to build on their winning momentum after the India Open, originally set for May 11-16, was postponed by the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
The association confirmed the decision was made after several rounds of discussion with the Badminton World Federation and the local government.
???????— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) April 19, 2021
Due to rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, #BAI in consultation with @bwfmedia has decided to postpone #YonexSunriseIndiaOpen2021 tournament. #yonexSunriseIndiaOpen2021#badminton pic.twitter.com/yPqOUbuwEo
This came after COVID-19 cases in the country continued to soar, with 273, 802 positive cases were recorded on April 18 alone to surpass total cases above the 15 million mark.
“Considering the current challenges, BAI is left with no option but to announce the postponement for the time being. We had an entry of 228 players and close to 300 people gathering, and the circumstances are such that this seems a risky affair,” BAI said in a statement.
The delay also came as a major setback for shuttlers chasing valuable points to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in July, with the tournament one of three offering a pathway to get there.
Without the India Open, the only two remaining tournaments are the Malaysia Open (May 25-30), followed by the Singapore Open (June 1-6).
The India Open was previously scheduled to go ahead behind closed doors in a bio-secure bubble, under strict COVID-19 protocols.
It was set to be a star-studded affair with Kento Momota, Viktor Axelsen and Carolina Marin all confirming their participation, but as cases continued to rise, several shuttlers including Marin and Anders Antonsen pulled out.