Top shuttlers from across the world have hit out at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for taking the novel coronavirus outbreak “too lightly” and putting them at “risk” by going ahead with its international tournaments.
The coronavirus outbreak, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) , has led to nearly 5000 deaths globally.
It has also badly affected the sporting calender with several events across the world being either postponed or cancelled.
International stars, including London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth and ex-top 10 player Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, expressed their concerns and asked the BWF to suspend all its upcoming tournaments.
“I honestly don’t get it! We should not be travelling the world playing badminton,” Denmark’s Vittinghus, a former World No. 8, said in a post which he has shared on his social media accounts.
He urged the BWF to follow other sporting federations in suspending the events.
Vittinghus wrote: “With some tournaments being played, while others are being cancelled, and the Olympic qualifying year still ongoing, players are left with choices between risking not only their own health, but also the health of the ones around them.
“… or giving up on tournaments, that others choose to play, risking to lose out on not only the Olympics, but also ranking spots that gives access to all the other big events. We should not be put in this position.”
Vittinghus’s post was retweeted by the likes of Saina, Srikanth, former top 10 players Parupalli Kashyap and H S Prannoy and Spanish national coach Fernando Rivas on their respective timelines.
“I dont get it too @bwfmedia #CoronavirusPandemic,” tweeted Saina, a former World No. 1, who is currently in Birmingham for the All England Championships.
I honestly don’t get it! ???⛔️ We should not be traveling the world playing badminton. Text is copied from my Facebook page. #badminton #corona #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/VkhyPtMnSQ— HK Vittinghus (@hkvittinghus) March 12, 2020
Srikanth, too, echoed similar voices.
“I agree with you (Vittinghus) and @bwfmedia should think about players safety,” he wrote.
Kashyap, who is also in Birmingham, tweeted: “Please Wake Up! @bwfmedia.”
Ajay Jayaram, a former World No. 13, also took to twitter to express his concerns.
“I really think @bwfmedia should reconsider holding off international tournaments until the situation settles. They seem to be taking this too lightly. At the very least I hope the fines, if players withdraw are waived off considering the circumstance,” he wrote.