The Badminton World Federation announced details of the sport’s calendar for the first half of 2021 season, including the reopening of world rankings and qualification plans for the postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The qualification period will be extended until the Indian Open 2021, which will be the last tournament to earn points that count toward sealing berths for the Summer Games.
Severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown, most badminton tournaments did not take place in 2020 and the rankings were frozen.
The new-look BWF calendar has outlined the tournaments till the Tokyo Games in August and sees a number of tournaments postponed from Q1 and Q2, and a handful of Grade 2 tournaments calendar for the rest of 2021.
The BWF World Rankings will reopen after the World Tour Finals 2020, which will now be held at the end of January 2021 in Bangkok. The calculation of the next BWF World Rankings list will be announced on Tuesday, February 2 2021, BWF informed in a release.
The qualification period for Race to Tokyo will restart in 2021 with the Swiss Open in March and end with the India Open in May.
The final qualification will be determined from the Race to Tokyo Rankings published on 18 May 2021. The BWF Council also decided that this will also be used for seeding at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
BWF is working with the International Olympic Committee to update the Olympic qualification system where the final updated regulation will be shared mid-January following a formal approval by the IOC.
The All England Open Badminton Championships, which will not be part of the qualification for Tokyo, is scheduled to take place from March 17 to 21.
Meanwhile, the BWF also said that the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020, postponed earlier this year, will now take place in Aarhus in Week 41 of the season. It will be part of a tournament cluster in Denmark alongside the Denmark Open 2021 in Odense during Week 42. The BWF is also in consultation with Chinese Badminton Association and the host city of Suzhou to fix the dates for Sudirman Cup 2021.
The governing body of the sport also announced a Covid-19 Support Package for tournament hosts who provide financial assistance and details cost relieving initiatives to ensure tournaments can continue to be part of the tournament in 2021.