The Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) defended their decision to postpone the Asia Badminton Championships (ABC), adding the delay would not make any difference to Asian shuttlers gunning to make the cut to the Tokyo Olympics.
The ABC, originally slated to take place from April 27-May 2, was postponed due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic in the region, meaning the event would not fall under the extended Olympic qualifying window which ends on June 15.
In contrast, the ongoing European Championships is offering Olympic qualifying points, which led national mixed doubles shuttler Goh Liu Ying to vent her frustration on social media.
But the BAC, when contacted by StadiumAstro, said the postponement made little difference to those looking to feature at the rescheduled Olympics.
“I don’t think there is much difference in terms of qualification. Those whose names are in the qualification bracket are already going. We made this decision [to postpone] after thorough discussions with the executive committee members.
“If we thought it was not fair, we would have lodged a report with the Badminton World Federation (BWF). No country in Asia was ready to host this tournament, so we proposed to shelve it,” said BAC chief operating officer Saw Chit Boon.
When asked if the European Championships should also have scrapped the Olympics qualifying points, Saw said: “The calendar is open for any continental confederation to run their events. In any case, we cannot predict anything at this point with the pandemic. Even the Olympics may not take place.”
Goh, in a social media posting, urged the world body to look into the matter.
“The European championships is ongoing, and contributes to the Olympic qualification. This means the European continent has an extra tournament opportunity to gain more points. So how is this fair for the Asian players who are also fighting for Olympic points?” she questioned.
As it stands, Goh and partner Chan Peng Soon are ranked seventh in the Race To Tokyo rankings and should make the cut.
The doubles discipline qualification dictate each country can enter a maximum of two pairs if both are ranked in the top eight, while the remaining nations are entitled to one until the quota of 16 highest ranked pairs is filled.
The BWF updated rules on Olympics qualification also rules out any replacement tournaments for events which are postponed.
The rules indicate that if the event is held outside of the extended qualification period, they will not be included in the Race to Tokyo rankings.
The two events that offer Olympic points after this are the Malaysia Open (May 25-30) and Singapore Open (June 1-6).