BWF unveils tournament calendar for first half of 2021
Chen Yufei of China in action during the women's singles final at the All England Open in Birmingham, UK, March 15, 2020. /CFP

Chen Yufei of China in action during the women's singles final at the All England Open in Birmingham, UK, March 15, 2020. /CFP

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Monday announced the tournament calendar for the first half of 2021, as the world badminton governing body eyes to resume international competitions, which have been put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic.

BWF also announced procedures for reopening the BWF World Rankings and information related to qualification and seedings for the Tokyo Olympic Games, saying the decisions were ratified at the recent BWF Council Session.

The international ranking will resume after the two Super 1,000 tournaments -Asia Opens and BWF World Tour Finals are held in Thailand in January 2021 as the finale of the 2020 season, BWF said in a statement.

The Olympic qualifying period for the Race to Tokyo will restart in March, with the Swiss Open as the first tournament counting towards qualification.

The qualification period will be extended to mid-May, closing on the Indian Open. The qualification will be determined from the Race to Tokyo Rankings published on May 18, 2021. The BWF Council decided that the rankings will also be used for seedings at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, BWF said.

The BWF is working with the IOC to update the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification system. The final updated regulation will be shared in mid-January, following formal approval by the IOC.

Meanwhile, the BWF confirmed that the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020, postponed from earlier this year, will now take place in Aarhus, Denmark, in October 2021. 

Regarding the Sudirman Cup 2021, the BWF said it is in close consultation with the Chinese Badminton Association and the host city of Suzhou, located in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, to identify a suitable window within the calendar.

The 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 COVID-19 situation continues to provide a challenging environment to run international tournaments. Although the hope is that the COVID-19 vaccine may in time create a world with fewer restrictions, the BWF expects that the pandemic will still influence tournament hosting throughout the whole of 2021," said BWF secretary general Thomas Lund. 

(With input from Xinhua News Agency)

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