KUALA LUMPUR: The Badminton World Federation is to suspend all tournaments from Monday until April 12 due to the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic.
“The suspension of the circuit will come into effect following the completion of the Yonex All England Open in Birmingham on Sunday,” it said in a statement.
The tournaments affected include the Swiss Open, India Open, Orleans Masters, Malaysia Open, and Singapore Open.
The decision comes after top shuttlers hit out at the world body, accusing it of not taking the epidemic seriously and putting them in danger by going ahead with international tournaments.
The coronavirus outbreak, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on Wednesday, has led to more than 5,000 deaths globally.
Dozens of major sporting events have been cancelled over the epidemic, from Formula One motor racing to England’s Premier League and the Masters golf major.
BWF also warned that the cancellations could hurt Olympic qualifying, which closes on April 30.
In February, BWF said it would not make any adjustments to the Olympic qualification period despite a string of events being impacted by the virus in the lead-up to the Tokyo Games, which are due to open in July.
But in the latest statement, the world body signalled it may reconsider, saying “BWF will make a further announcement on regulations related to Olympic qualification points at a later date.” - AFP