By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
DESPITE concerns over the ongoing outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (nCoV) acute respiratory disease, the 2020 Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships set for this week will take place as scheduled albeit with some changes to the roster of teams competing.
Set for Feb. 11 to 16 at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, organizers of the event — Badminton Asia and the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA) — said they have taken all measures to ensure the safety of the players participating in the tournament, leading them to confidently give it a go.
“We can assure to the players and the Filipino people that their safety is put on a premium to ensure the world-class staging of this event,” said PBA secretary-general Christopher Quimpo in the lead-up.
But as the tournament proceeds, teams from mainland China and its special administrative region Hong Kong will not be competing given the issue over nCoV.
Recently the Philippine government issued a temporary travel ban to people coming from China, Hong Kong and Macau to avert the further spread of the respiratory disease here.
Wuhan, in Hubei province in China, is the ground zero of nCoV, with the disease having spread to other parts of China.
Also not competing are the men’s and women’s from India.
In light of the changes, a redraw of the groupings was scheduled for later yesterday.
Originally, China and Hong Kong were in Group B in the men’s division, together with Thailand. Hong Kong was in Group W of the women’s division with Malaysia and Japan while India was slotted with Korea and Kazakhstan in Group X.
“The world’s best badminton players have been vocal in saying that they are ready to put on a show come the Asian Team Championships — and this includes our national team who has been training hard for the past few months for this event,” said Mr. Quimpo as he promised a competitive tournament that aficionados of the sport would enjoy.
Other teams seeing action in the tournament are host the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Chinese Taipei.
The 2020 Badminton Asia Manila Team Championships is backed by Smart Communications Inc., MVP Sports Foundation, Leisure and Resorts World Corp., Cignal, and TV5.