THE Badminton Asia Championships 2020 set for the country in April has been suspended by the world governing body of the sport over continuing concerns on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In an announcement at the weekend, the Kuala Lumpur-based Badminton World Federation (BWF) said the Asia Championships was one of the events in the next two months it was suspending as cases of COVID-19 in different parts of the world continue to increase.

The event, originally set for April 21 to 26, was supposed to take place in Wuhan, China, ground zero for COVID-19.

It was awarded to the Philippines after the country successfully hosted the 2020 Badminton Asia Team Championships in Manila in February, which was topped by Indonesia (men’s) and Japan (women’s), respectively.

“The health, safety, and well-being of all athletes, their entourage, officials and the greater badminton community remain as the top priority,” BWF’s statement on the postponement read.

Postponed as well were the Thomas and Uber Cup (May 16-24) in Denmark, the European Championships (April 21-26) in Ukraine, Pan Am Individual Championships (April 23-26) in Peru, Croatian International (April 3-5), and Peru International (April 16-19).

Incidentally all events serve as key tournaments for badminton players trying to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which organizers said is still a go in July despite a growing clamor to have the Games deferred to a later date.

As of this writing, the Philippines has 380 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 25 reported deaths and 15 people recovering.

Globally there are 307,625 COVID-19 cases and 13,050 fatal cases. Recovered cases are pegged at 95,797. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo