Following a full feasibility study, the BWF canceled 10 BWF World Tour tournaments previously scheduled for the third and fourth quarters of the year, all in Asia and Oceania. Cancellations include the China Open, the Japan Open and the Indian Open.
The BWF has also designated new host cities for two competitions displaced from China: the BWF Sudirman Cup finals and the BWF World Tour finals. The first has been moved to Vantaa, Finland (September 26-October 3), while the second will take place in Bali, Indonesia (December 1-5), as one of the few tournaments in Asia to remain on the schedule.
“Europe is seen as a more feasible region to host tournaments at the moment with higher vaccine implementation rates and fewer travel restrictions,” said BWF General Secretary Thomas Lund . While a number of tournament hosts in Asia are eager to host tournaments, general comments regarding COVID-19 restrictions and the uncertainty of the situation there have meant that it is likely that only some tournaments could take place “.
The 2021 badminton season ends in December with the World Championships in Huelva, Spain. A new round of player ranking will begin immediately after the Tokyo Olympics.
World Taekwondo embraces virtual sparring
World Taekwondo announces the development of a new virtual combat technology thanks to which taekwondo matches can, for the first time, take place entirely from a distance.
Product of the federation’s partnership with Refract Technologies, virtual sparring involves real-time monitoring of a player’s movements; allowing players to kick and punch their opponent’s avatar in real time from anywhere in the world. Using this technology would not only remove physical barriers to competition, but also allow athletes of different weight classes and genders to compete on an equal footing.
“World Taekwondo has been at the forefront of adopting innovative technologies. We have long been committed to aligning with the IOC Olympic Agenda 2020 and now with the 2020 + 5 vision for growing digital engagement, ”said World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue.
Virtual competitions have been planned by World Taekwondo as early as 2022. The federation’s announcement comes a week after the conclusion of the first Olympic Virtual Series, a mass-participation virtual sporting event featuring five other disciplines.
World Athletics relocates team walking championships
The World Athletics Council decides to move the previously scheduled 2022 World Walking Team Championships to Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
The decision came following a report from the World Athletics Risk Committee which cited several risk factors for Minsk to host the championships. Chief among these were uncertainties over Belarusian diplomatic relations with other countries and restrictions on international travel.
In a press release, World Athletics said it “remains confident in the local organizing committee and the Belarusian Athletics Federation who have worked hard and well to organize this event, despite the challenges created by the pandemic, and regrets that circumstances beyond their control led to this decision.
Several other international sporting events have also pulled out of Belarus in recent months due to political unrest in the country; including the Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships, the European Track Cycling Championships and a Biathlon World Cup stage.
Olympic basketball qualification culminates
The final four places for the men’s basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics will be decided this week, with 23 teams from around the world competing at four different venues.
Qualifying tournaments are held in Victoria, Canada; Split, Croatia; Kaunas, Lithuania and Belgrade, Serbia. Six teams are entered in each competition, with the exception of five in Belgrade, where the original entrant Senegal withdrew due to COVID-19-related disruptions in their preparation.
The winners of each qualifying group will join host Japan and the seven nations qualified for the 2019 Basketball World Cup Olympics: Argentina, Australia, France, Iran, Spain, Nigeria and the United States. The Tokyo Games men’s basketball tournament runs from July 25 to August 7.
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Written by Filip Vachuda
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