The Indian badminton star H.S. Prannoy made a bold decision to pull out of the All England Badminton tournament which was held at Birmingham from March 11 to 15 amid the COVID-19 threat just before the tournament started. H.S Prannoy was not the only player to take such a decision, he along with six other players made this brave decision to keep themselves safe and protected from the ongoing pandemic that has affected the world.
Even though at first instance, he was criticized to make such a move, his decision of cutting out of the tournament proved to be a wise one as new positive cases were being reported on the players who participated in the tournament. Prannoy said that “At that time many people criticised my decision. There was a time even I too felt to reconsider my decision.”
“I chose to stick to my decision considering the amount of travelling we need to do. Only the players travel in business class, our support staff will be travelling in the economy class and we cannot avoid contact with them,” he further added.
Prannoy further stated that he felt the current BWF officials were being ignorant to the pandemic that is happening all around the world and that they are not concerned about the well-being of the players. “In my opinion, BWF officials are making stupid decisions. Even after conducting All England there was uncertainty over the remaining tournaments. It was only after the players’ strong reactions on social media that BWF decided to postpone the remaining tournaments. The BWF was so adamant to conduct the tournament. They could have at least avoided the spectators,” he said.
“Compared to other sports, the money involved in our sport is way too low. If the top football leagues in the World can stop their matches, why can’t our federation take such a decision? BWF officials are less bothered about players’ health. They are only worried about money. BWF was ready to conduct the Malaysia Open and Indian Open. They said that they will conduct it in closed-door, but they were not willing to hear our woes and strains. They didn’t have an answer when asked what will happen if one the players will be affected with COVID-19,” said the 27-year old.
He further condemned the president of the BWF Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen for saying that they do not regret the decision of conducting the tournament since no one was infected. “The BWF president should have acted responsibly and sensibly. Just a day after his statement, reports of a Chinese Taipei tested positive for corona came out in the media. Nothing would have happened even if this tournament was not conducted,” Prannoy further stated.
(With inputs from Mr Biswas)