Holding of 2020 Taipei badminton tourney uncertain

Chou Tien-chen (周天成) at the 2019 Yonex Taipei Open badminton tournament (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Whether the 2020 Yonex Taipei Open badminton tournament will go ahead as scheduled has been thrown into doubt, with international players expressing reluctance over quarantine regulations, Taiwan’s badminton association said Monday.

Doubts about participating in the tournament were raised by international players when they realized that regulations mandate all incoming international players are required to stay in Taiwan for 14 days before they can leave the country regardless of how well they perform in the tournament, said Chen Shih-chieh (陳世杰), Chinese Taipei Badminton Association deputy director.

According to the regulations formulated by Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center, international players will initially be kept at a quarantine hotel in Taoyuan for five days upon entering the country before they are tested, Chen said.

After the results come back negative, players will be allowed to compete in Taipei but will need to stay a total of 14 days when they will be tested again and only allowed to leave if the results are negative, Chen said.

“This has raised a lot of concerns from international players as they can’t choose to leave if they happen to lose or drop out during the tournament,” Chen told CNA.

Badminton Association of Malaysia General Secretary Dato’ Kenny Goh Chee Keong said Saturday that his association will not send a team if Taiwan enforces a “two-week mandatory quarantine” for international players.

World No. 7 Malaysian mixed doubles team Peng Soon and partner Goh Liu Ying, who were semi-finalists at the Taipei open last year have expressed their support for the decision.

“Our stand is the same as the BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia). If we’re needed to undergo a 14 day quarantine upon arrival, then most likely we’re not going,” Peng Soon said to English-language Malaysian newspaper The Star on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Sports Administration said they find it “understandable” that Malaysian or other international players are hesitant about competing in the event as many major tournaments around the world have been canceled or postponed this year due to COVID-19.

The Gwangju Korea Masters 2020, originally slated for Nov. 24-29, was also canceled, according to the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

Due to the uncertainty of the situation the Chinese Taipei Badminton Association is inclined to cancel this year’s tournament, while the BWF has asked the association to postpone the event, according to a source familiar with the matter.

However, the Sports Administration said the badminton association and the BWF are still holding talks on the matter.

The BWF Super 300 tier 2020 Yonex Taipei Open is still currently scheduled to be held Sept. 1-6 in Taiwan’s capital with a total purse of US$500,000, according to the BWF’s website Sunday.