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Hyderabad Open set to bring shuttlers back on court in post-COVID era

Action on the badminton court will resume with the Hyderabad Open in August, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced on Friday. All badminton has been suspended since March as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Slowly and steadily, sports around the globe have been tying to find their feet during these unprecedented times and badminton became the latest entrant in this exclusive club.

Due to the ongoing crisis, as many as 10 tournaments have been cancelled since March -- Orleans Masters 2020 (March 24-29), Singapore Open (April 7-12), Badminton Asia Championships 2020 (April 21-26), XXIV Pan Am Individual Championships 2020 (April 23-26), US Open 2020 (June 23-28), Canada Open 2020 (June 30-July 5), Russian Open (July 7-12), Akita Masters 2020 (August 18-23), Vietnam Open 2020 (August 25-30) and Indonesia Masters 2020 Super 100 (September 29-October 4) -- While 'suitable replacement dates are still being finalised for four suspended tournaments' -- German Open (March 3-8), Swiss Open (March 17-22), European Championships (April 21-26) and Australian Open 2020 (June 2-7)

So, the BWF coming up with a revamped calender will be music to the ears of shuttlers around the world. The Hyderabad Open (August 11 to 16) will become the first world event to return to the court and is one of three Indian tournaments on the roster alongside Syed Mushtaq Ali (Nov 17-22) and India Open (Dec 8-13).

The BWF, however, warned that the dates shouldn't be taken for granted considering the ever-changing scenario the world finds itself in currently.

"At this point in time, it is difficult to predict when international movement and entry restrictions will be lifted by individual countries and territories, but we will not resume competition unless it is absolutely clear that is safe to do so," BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said in statement uploaded on their website.

The BWF seemingly trying to avoid another controversy similar to that of All England Championships, as earlier this year, top international players hit out at the officials for continuing with tournaments despite the virus crisis. This time, they made it crystal clear that players will return to the court only if the conditions can be made safe for everyone.

"The health, safety and wellbeing of all athletes, their entourage, officials and the greater badminton community remains our No.1 priority," Lund said in the statement.

"We have also tried to ensure the continued livelihoods of our badminton players, including supporting all our Member Associations, by making considered preparations for badminton's return at the soonest possible chance at all levels across the world."

Source: IANS
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