Virus forces teams out of Asian badminton championships

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – The deadly coronavirus outbreak has forced China and Hong Kong’s men and women and India’s women to withdraw from badminton’s Asia Team Championships which started yesterday in Manila, the Philippines.

The event, which runs until Sunday, is the Asian qualifying event for the sport’s Thomas and Uber Cup team championships later this year.

It also serves as part of the qualification process for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“The decision to impose the 14-day quarantine period for travellers coming from China, Hong Kong and Macau has to be respected in view of the health and safety of the Philippines government for its people,” said a Badminton Asia statement yesterday.

“It is in this respect that the above event will not see the teams from China and Hong Kong competing.”

The Indian women’s team withdrew after concerns were raised by players and their parents, said the Badminton Association of India (BAI).

“After receiving complete assurances from Badminton Asia, the men’s team agreed to travel and confirmed their participation however, the women’s team was withdrawn,” said a BAI statement.

There have been more than 42,000 people infected in China where more than 1,000 people have died, mainly around the outbreak’s epicentre in the central city of Wuhan.