The 84th Senior Badminton National Championships scheduled to be held in Lucknow from April 27 to May 3 has been put on hold due to the dreaded COVD-19 pandemic, Badminton Association of India (BAI) said on Tuesday. The coronavirus outbreak has claimed 16,000 lives worldwide while infecting close to 4,00,000. India has reported nine deaths and nearly 500 positive cases so far. Given the situation, BAI has asked all state secretaries not to book their tickets for Lucknow.
"We have put on hold the 84th Senior nationals badminton Championships and 75th Inter State - Inter Zonal in light of the coronavirus outbreak. We have advised the state secretaries not to book any ticket for the Lucknow event," Ajay Singhania told PTI."There is a lockdown in the country till March 31st to flatten the virus curve and we can't put our players or officials at risk. We will take a call on the tournament on April 1 as and when the government comes up with a new advisory."
The BAI had asked the members of the executive council to give their views on the conduct of tournament and most have called for its postponement. In India, 32 states and union territories have been put in lockdown. Two states - Punjab and Maharashtra - and a UT - Puducherry - have declared curfews."These are difficult times and we need to give priority to health. We have to wait till March 31 to see what happens, the BAI will take a call and accordingly we will see when can we conduct the tournament," UP Badminton Association secretary Arun Kakkar said.
Saina Nehwal and Sourabh Verma are the defending champions, having won the women's and men's singles titles respectively at Guwahati last year. The Badminton World Federation has suspended all tournaments till April 12 due to the Covid-19 epidemic, which has brought the whole world to a standstill with countries shutting down borders and going into lockdown mode.The BAI has also urged its players and officials to "keep a positive frame of mind" and "stay home" to contribute in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.