BWF postpones Thomas and Uber Cup Finals due to withdrawals

The Men's and Women's World Team Championships will now take place at a date "not before into 2021"

By ZK Goh

The Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, badminton's world team championships for men and women respectively, have been postponed after further withdrawals from the event scheduled to take place next month in Denmark.

"These are exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in and while a return to international badminton remains a priority for the BWF, the health and safety of the entire badminton community is of utmost importance," the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said in a statement on Tuesday announcing the postponement.

"BWF is looking into possible alternative dates to reschedule the World Men’s and Women’s Team Championships, but on dates not before into 2021."

Australia, Chinese Taipei (including the men's world number two and women's world number one), and Thailand had all previously withdrawn from the event, joined this week by other top-ranked nations Indonesia and South Korea, due to the worsening coronavirus situation in some European countries.

"Bubble" format

The tournaments were due to have taken place in Aarhus, Denmark, from 3–11 October in a bio-secure "bubble" environment.

The same system was to have applied to two tournaments in nearby Odense.

"In view of the recent COVID-19 related developments around the world, a number of teams and individual players have elected not to travel to Denmark for tournaments in Aarhus and Odense; a choice the BWF has to respect and acknowledge," the BWF said.

As a result, in addition to the postponement of the world championships, the Denmark Masters in Odense scheduled from 20–25 October was cancelled.

However, the Denmark Open will proceed as planned from 13–18 October, the international federation announced.

"The event will also be used as an opportunity to implement relevant COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Operating Procedures for the planned restart of international badminton tournaments," it explained.

No decision has yet been made on whether to proceed with three further BWF World Tour tournaments planned to be hosted in Asia.

World champion reacts

"It is good that the organisers have taken this decision. After all, player safety is equally important," reigning women's singles world champion PV Sindhu said to Indian media.

"Life is more important than anything else. And with many big guns from Asia withdrawing because of the pandemic, this development was on the expected lines.

"I personally feel it is not the right time to play and take a huge risk on the health front."