Momota Kento, most of Indonesian team out of Huelva 2021 Badminton World Championships

A statement published on the BWF website and another from the PBSI has confirmed the withdrawal of "a large contingent of Indonesian players" as World No.2 Momota Kento also bows out. 

By Ken Browne
Picture by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

World No.2 Momota Kento and the majority of the Indonesian badminton players who were set to take part at the Huelva 2021 World Championships have withdrawn from the competition.

Momota will not play due to a back injury and the Indonesian PBSI has communicated a decision to withdraw most of its players citing Covid-19 fears.

The news comes just days before the tournament is set to start on 12 December.

"The Badminton World Federation (BWF) can confirm the withdrawal of a large contingent of Indonesian players from the BWF World Championships 2021 in Huelva, Spain," reads a statement on BWF.com.

"Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) made the announcement on Wednesday morning expressing concerns linked to the COVID-19 situation," continues the release.

Both Momota and the Indonesian shuttlers had initially been involved in the draw for the tournament, and while it's been confirmed that "a small number of Indonesian players remain in the draw," BWF expressed its disappointment with the decision by PBSI and "regret that the withdrawal took place after the draw."

For their part, the PBSI released a statement on Wednesday 8 December saying:

"The decision to withdraw the Indonesian badminton team from this year's World Championships has also been approved by PBSI chairperson Agung Firman Sampurna," as communicated by another PBSI executive, Alex Tirta, in a release.

"The rapid spread of the Omicron virus resulting in uncertain changes in health protocols made us decide to withdraw from the 2021 World Championships," added Tirta.

"We don't want to take any risks," said PBSI coaching and achievement division head Rionny Mainaky.

"The safety and health of athletes is more important. We have also discussed it with the players and they agreed to withdraw from the World Championships."

The Huelva 2021 World Championships will run from 12-19 December, and the BWF have stated that the majority of players have arrived safely and entered the tournament bubble, with round one matches starting at 10am local time on Sunday.

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