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BWF Extends Olympics Qualification Period, Will Maintain Ranking Points

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The initial Olympic qualification time frame ended on April 28 but multiple event cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic meant the BWF was forced to freeze its rankings on March 17. The ruling will hugely impact Saina Nehwal and K Srikanth’s chances of qualification.
BWF Extends Olympics Qualification Period

Nehwal and Srikanth both ranked 22 in the women’s and men’s singles respectively fall outside the automatic qualification spot for the Olympics. (Pictures: Vaibhav Raghunandan)

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) said ranking points earned in the initial one year qualification time frame are going to be retained as the qualification criteria for the Tokyo Olympics. 

According to the world body, the Olympics qualifiers are only going to resume in 2021 even though the plan is to start the sport in September 2020 after it was forced to go on halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"All ranking points earned at tournaments completed during the original Olympic qualification period will be maintained under the Race to Tokyo ranking list," the BWF said in a statement.

"Although we aim to resume international tournaments towards the end of 2020, we have chosen to resume the Olympic and Paralympics qualification process only in 2021 to ensure that travel restrictions and other related impacts of COVID-19 are limited," it added. A revised BWF Tournament Calendar 2021 is going to come out later, the governing body said.

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The initial Olympic qualification time frame ended on April 28 but the BWF did not hold multiple ranking tournaments due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Subsequently the governing body froze the rankings on March 17.

The decision impacts Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth hugely, both of who are in danger of not qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, since they are currently ranked lower than required in the BWF Road to Tokyo rankings.

Each country gets two quota places for the Olympics if their players are ranked between 1 and 16 on the Race to Tokyo rankings in the singles category. Two quota places are reserved for duos who are ranked between 1 and 8 in the doubles category.

As of May 27, Saina Nehwal stands outside the qualification category ranked at 22 and Kidambi Srikanth is ranked 22 on the men's singles list.

On the other hand, the likes of PV Sindhu, Sai Praneeth still hold brighter chances of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.

Sindhu is ranked 7 and Sai Praneeth is ranked 13th. The young doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also hold a strong chance of qualifying since they are on the 10th on the men's doubles chart.

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BWF's revised guidelines for Tokyo Olympics qualification in 2021

1. All ranking points earned at tournaments completed during the original Olympic qualification period are going to be a part of the Race to Tokyo ranking list.

2. An extended Olympic qualification period will be from Week 1-17 in 2021 and is going to include tournaments that were postponed, cancelled or suspended due to coronavirus.

3. These eligible tournaments within the new qualifying period should be completed by Week 17 in 2021.

4. Tournaments rescheduled for the end of 2020 outlined in the revamped BWF Tournament Calendar 2020 released last week will not count towards qualification. Only the 2021 editions of each tournament.

4. Such tournaments within this new qualifying period should take place in the same corresponding week from 2020 to 2021.

5. If this is not possible, BWF will allow sanctioning on another date within Week 1-17 in 2021, if they get approval.

6. Players from China and Hong Kong China will be eligible to earn points from the 2021 Badminton Asia Team Championships as representatives from those Member Associations did not take part in the 2020 Badminton Asia Team Championships in Manila due to coronavirus travel restrictions that were imposed on athletes from those nations and territories by the Government of the Philippines.

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