Coronavirus: Gopi Chand welcomes BWF's decision to suspend tournaments

Indian badminton national coach P. Gopi Chand revealed that the players at his academies in Hyderabad are in isolation due to concerns over coronavirus spread.

Pullela Gopi Chand is looking forward to know the restructured Olympic qualification process after suspension of events by the BWF.   -  V.V. Subramanyam

Indian badminton chief national coach, P. Gopi Chand, welcomed the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) decision to suspend all tournaments from March 16 to April 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a good decision and one cannot ignore the health risk of everyone involved including players, officials and spectators. When the whole world is witnessing so many restrictions, it was not the ideal scenario to go ahead with the BWF events,” Gopi Chand told Sportstar on way his back from the All-England Championship in London on Saturday.

"I don’t say the players are really scared, but there were a serious element of concern which I feel is pretty genuine given the kind of alarming reports that have been emanating from different parts of the world on the virus," he said.

"Definitely, this is more so with those players who have been travelling around the world in search of picking important points to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics (to be held in July this year)," he said.

READ | Coronavirus outbreak: BWF suspends tours until April 12

"I cannot straightaway comment on the likely impact of the fresh guidelines to be issued for the qualification for Olympics. We need to know the cut-off date and the number of tournaments the players, especially those aspiring from India, can play to make the cut for the Games," the former All-England champion added.

The tournaments suspended by the BWF's directive are: Swiss Open, India Open 2020, Orleans Masters, Malaysia Open, Singapore Open and other international grade III tournaments.

Significantly, Gopi Chand also revealed that most of the national campers at the two of his academies in Hyderabad are in ‘isolation’ if not quarantained.

"Yes, once I go back to Hyderabad will take a call on the camps subject, especially in the wake of the Telangana State Government’s decision today to close down all educational institutions till March 31," he said.

Reflecting on the India's All-England championship, he preferred to say only in one word - 'disappointed'. P.V. Sindhu was the only player to reach quarterfinals, while Saina Nehwal exited in the first round. Men's singles player Lakshya Sen and the women's doubles duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy lost in the second round.

"Since, no one else was willing to be with the team for All England, I had to come," Gopi Chand revealed.

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