The final three tournanaments of the 2020 season at Bangkok’s Muang Thong Thani, due to start next week with the Yonex Thailand Open, have received a huge boost with all 824 participants in the Green Zone quarantine bubble testing negative for the novel coronavirus, the Badminton World Federation said in an article on its website www.bwfbadminton.com.
The Green Zone consists of players and their entourage and all stakeholders who come into direct contact with them, such as umpires, line judges, personnel from the BWF and the Badminton Association of Thailand, medical staff, and TV production crew.
All international Green Zone participants were required to submit a negative certificate in their own country before departure to Bangkok and were then tested again in Thailand upon entry into hotel quarantine.
Local players, staff and personnel based in Thailand were also tested and quarantined as part of the Green Zone bubble.
“Players are now cleared for training under strict safety protocols. The quarantine measures will be in place throughout the mandatory 14-day observation period including during the staging of the Yonex Thailand Open,” the BWF said.
More routine COVID-19 tests will follow with strict protocols to remain in place until the end of the Asian leg, which concludes with the completion of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 on Jan 31.
The Yonex Thailand Open will be held from Jan 12-17, followed by the Toyota Thailand Open from Jan 19-24 and the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals from Jan 27-31.
The first two events, both Super 1000 tournaments, offer a total purse of US$1 million (B30mn) each, while the 2020 season finale has a total prize fund of $1.5mn (B45mn).
The list of players qualified for the World Tour Finals will be determined at the conclusion of the Toyota Thailand Open.
The top-eight players and pairs for each category in the HSBC BWF Road to Bangkok Rankings will be invited to compete in the season finale, with eligibility limited to two players or pairs per a member association.
The three tournaments will be held behind closed doors.
Unfortunately, the events will be without big names from Japan and China.
All Japanese players, including women’s world No.3 Akane Yamaguchi and No.4 Nozomi Okuhara, did not travel to Bangkok after compatriot Kento Momota, the top male player in the world, tested positive for COVID-19.
The Chinese Badminton Association has withdrawn its team from the Asian leg due to travel restrictions.
Top-ranked men’s doubles player Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia was forced to pull out of the Bangkok leg after testing positive for COVID-19, along with his partner Marcus Fernaldi Gideon who tested positive.
The Thai challenge will be led by women’s world No.5 Ratchanok Intanon, and world No.3 mixed doubles pair Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.
The tournaments will be televised live on TrueVisions.