Sports Reporter :
THE Badminton Federation of India (BAI), after having an emergency discussion with Badminton World Federation (BWF), decided to postpone the upcoming Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2021 on Monday due to sudden rise in COVID-19 cases in New Delhi as well as sudden announcement of lockdown in the city. The tournament was scheduled to be held at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi from May 11-16. Upcoming city shuttler Ritika Thaker was the one among only two players from Maharashtra supposed to be competing in the event. She and her Mumbai partner Simran Singhi got entry in the prestigious HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 level tournament. There were no qualifying rounds for the event and the duo got a chance to play this tournament because of their BWF rankings. Ritika was also in the reserve in women’s singles category.
With the event postponed, Ritika was definitely disheartened but was on the same page as the organisers as far as postponement was concerned. “It is really disappointing that the tournament has been postponed. It was a very good chance to play against the best in the world. On the other hand, if one sees the ground reality, situation is very bad in Delhi. I feel there was not other option left with the authorities besides this. I believe whatever is done is for the betterment of players and the sport and I respect the decision,” said Ritika while sharing her feelings with ‘The Hitavada’. On her next assignment, Ritika said, “I hope to get entry to the Singapore Open Super Series 500 Tournament which is going to be held from June 1-6.”
After her recent two-month long training at Hyderabad, Ritika, a trainee of Robin Simon and Ajay Dayal, has been practising with father Rahul inside home compound and does her routine exercises at home. The recent record surge in COVID cases and uncertainty around the pandemic as well as the lockdown being in effect from Monday midnight, BAI was left with no option but to call off the tournament. “Considering the current challenges, BAI is left with no option but to announce the postponement of the tournament for the time being. We had an entry of 228 players and close to 300 peoples’ gathering including coaches, support staff and officials and the circumstances are such that Yonex-Sunrise India Open, 2021 edition seems for now a very risky affair.
Several rounds of discussions were held with BWF as well as the Delhi government and other stakeholders and accessing the safety of players and officials BAI needed to take this decision,” said Badminton Association of India (BAI) General Secretary Ajay Singhania. The BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament was classified as one of the last few qualification tournaments for the Tokyo Olympics and had attracted top players including Kenta Momota and Viktor Axelsen and several other Top-10 players along with representation from 33 countries. The 2021 edition was already scheduled to be held in a bio secure bubble with no spectators and media.