The Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive tournaments that will be held under strict biological security conditions and behind closed doors in Bangkok and will culminate in the World Tour Final on January 27th.
Representative picture. AFP
A pathetic spell for badminton ends at the Thailand Open this week, where players emerge from hotel quarantine to restart the world tour under bubble conditions in Bangkok.
The world’s best players – minus China and Japan, who were forced to retire – after a setup that included long, lonely hours in their hotel rooms, burst to get active again.
Olympic champion Carolina Marin posted a video in which she trained with a hotel towel Has. Tai Tzu-ying, the world’s number one, used water bottles as weights, and the Dane Anders Antonsen practiced serving shuttlecocks in his sneakers.
The Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive tournaments that are held under strict conditions biosafety and behind closed doors in Bangkok, culminating in the World Tour Final on January 27th.
Badminton has been practically paused since the All England Championships in March, but players and organizers alike are hoping for less troubled year as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics from July.
The Bangkok tournaments also got the number with the withdrawal of China, which was based on travel restrictions, and Japan, which was withdrawing as Kento Momota 1 of the men’s world, which tested positive, was severely weakened.
The individual draws now resemble Swiss cheese, with six men and eight women missing from the top 20.
Taiwan’s Chou Tie n-chen and the Danes Viktor Axelsen and Antonsen are the top competitors in a men’s competition without Momota and the Chinese Olympic champion Chen Long.
Antonsen, who won the Denmark Open in October, is returning after contracting the virus earlier last month.
Tai, the women’s top seed, let her shirt do the talking, when it was marked « Ready to win » during a training session last week.
The Taiwanese won her last event, the All England in March, and another win this week would be two nine months apart Take titles in a row.
Former world champion Ratchanok Intanon leads Thai hopes and is aiming for at least a spot in the semifinals this week.
Marin, the first non-Asian player to win gold for Olympic women, said , the European players had hoped to make a name for themselves.
« We know that Asian players are at the top every time. Europeans are constantly working to break the Asian wall, » she said.
Thailand’s badminton boss told AFP last month that the tournaments are « the safest in the world » and the general secretary of the World Badminton Federation, Thomas Lund, said he was satisfied with the hygiene protocols.
« If a positive case is found the player will be isolated and the contract will be prosecuted Any player who has been in contact must also be isolated, « said Lund.
» We are confident that we can take care of the player and protect the rest of the players during these special times. » p>
January 11, 2021 1:44:47 PM
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Tokyo organizers and the Japanese government are grappling with increased costs and despite the growing possibility of vaccination, whether to allow foreign visitors and what protections and restrictions apply to spectators and participants.
While China pulled back after a surge in COVID-19 cases in Thailand, Japan pulled back at the last minute after Kento Momota, the world’s number 1, tested positive for COVID-19.
Players will now also have access to physical therapy in their rooms but will need to schedule an appointment in advance as per the protocols in force.
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