India’s apex national body for badminton, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has decided to postpone the 84th Senior Badminton National Championship which was scheduled to be held from April 27 to May 3 in the city of Lucknow. The decision comes in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has adversely affected the entire world.
Supporting the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi for the lockdown BAI General secretary Ajay Singhania said, “Now that the government has extended the lockdown, we have decided to postpone the 84th Senior nationals badminton Championships and 75th Inter-State – Inter-Zonal. It is unfortunate that the tournament couldn’t be held as planned but it is a grave situation and fighting this disease is the priority.”
Mr Singhania sounded optimistic regarding conducting the championship as he believes that once the situation comes under control, BAI can then decide if it is feasible to conduct the tournament sometime later.
BAI is concerned about the players’ safety and as they don’t want the players and the officials to be at risk. “We have advised the state secretaries not to book any ticket for the Lucknow event,” he added.
The Indian shuttlers have been training under the watchful eyes of BAI and their progress is monitored but the association cannot take chances with the health of everyone. They have been sweating it out in the run-up to the Olympics although the event stands postponed and will only be held in 2021.
2012 London Olympic bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal and star shuttler Sourabh Verma are the defending champions in the women and men’s category respectively. “As much as we want the show to go on, we at Badminton Association of India (BAI) believe at this point of time the physical well-being of our players and support staff is of prime importance as much as the safety of the fans,” Singhania said while interacting with the media.
Indian shuttlers have been in top form in the recent past and have gone on to win many laurels for the country at international events. The sports and the badminton fraternity hopes that the pandemic ends soon and we then get to witness some enthralling badminton at the National Championship.