Kaula Lumpur: The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has announced the tournament calendar for the first half of 2021, which includes 17 tournaments that will serve as qualification tournaments for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The new-look BWF tournament calendar sees a number of tournaments postponed from Q1 and Q2, and a handful of Grade 2 tournaments cancelled.
The season will start with the Yonex Thailand Open 2020 from January 17-21 and will conclude with the Russia Open on July 25.
The Olympic Qualifying period for the Race to Tokyo will restart in 2021 and the first tournament counting for qualification will be the Yonex Swiss Open 2021 to be held from March 2-7.
The qualification period will last till the India Open 2021 to be held from May 11-16 in New Delhi.
Qualification will be determined from the Race to Tokyo Rankings published on May 18, said BWF. BWF Council decided that this will also be used for seedings the Tokyo Olympics.
The BWF world rankings will reopen following the World Tour Finals 2020 to be held from January 27-31 in Bangkok. The calculation of the next BWF world rankings list will be announced on February 2.
“These deadlines have been set due to the uncertain nature of Covid-19 and the extra time needed to conduct tournaments with the Covid-19 safety protocols required,” said BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund.
BWF said it is working with the IOC to update the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification system whereby the final updated regulation will be shared mid-January following formal approval by the IOC.
Meanwhile, BWF confirmed the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020, postponed from earlier this year, will now take place in Aarhus, Denmark in October.
BWF also announced its Covid-19 support package for tournament hosts that provides financial assistance and details cost relieving initiatives to ensure tournaments can continue.
“The support will help hosts cover the costs of implementing BWF Covid-19 protocols which includes testing, arrangements around hotel safety, cleaning, provisions of face masks to participants, and sanitising equipment,” said Lund.
“There is also the possibility to reduce total minimum prize money for 2021 in the effort to reduce costs, but BWF would encourage all hosts to keep minimum prize money levels as high as possible for the benefit of our top players,” he added.