BAI requests ministry to relax quarantine norms for foreign players’ participation in India Open

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Monday requested the Sports Ministry to relax the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for foreign players participating in next year’s Yonex Sunrise India Open Super 500 tournament.

BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania met sports minister Kiren Rijiju to chalk out a plan for conducting the USD 400,000 India Open event, which is scheduled to be held from March 30 to April 4 at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.

“I met the honourable sports minister today and requested him to consider the current international practice of accepting a negative RT-PCR test report taken 72 hours before departure on arrival in the country instead of 14-day quarantine,” Singhania told PTI.

“India Open is a crucial Olympic qualifier and an important event for shuttlers who are yet to confirm their berths for the Olympics. So relaxation of the quarantine norms will allow them to participate in the event,” he added.

The 2020 edition of the tournament was postponed to December but was later cancelled by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) as it massively rejigged the international calendar that was thrown haywire by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the 2021 India Open being an Olympic qualifier, the world’s top players including Indian shuttlers are aiming to participate in order to book themselves a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

Singhania said the sports minister has assured all help in organising the tournament.

“I submitted a written request and Kiren Rijiju ji has assured to resolve the issue at the earliest. Both BAI and the Sports Ministry are eager to see badminton make a resounding return to India with the Indian Open Superseries.”

The Denmark Open Super 750 is the only world tour event held this year since the global health crisis forced the world body to either cancel or postpone all tournaments after the All England Championships in March.

Due to the raging pandemic, the BWF had re-scheduled the Asian leg to next year with the Asia Open I slated for January 12-17, followed by Asia Open II from January 19-24 and the BWF World Tour Finals from January 27-31.