Badminton’s China, Japan Opens axed because of coronavirus

In this file photo taken on September 13, 2018 a girl watches second round matches at the Japan Open badminton championships in Tokyo. (AFP / Toshifumi Kitamura
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Updated 29 July 2020

Badminton’s China, Japan Opens axed because of coronavirus

  • In a normal year, the China Open and Japan Open would have attracted fields containing all the world’s top-ranked men and women players

TOKYO: Badminton’s prestigious China and Japan Opens were canceled Wednesday by the Badminton World Federation as it announced that four September tournaments in Asia would not be played because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Taipei Open from September 1-6, the Korea Open (Sept 8-13), the China Open (Sept 15-20) and the Japan Open (Sept 22-27) were all axed.
“We are deeply disappointed to have to cancel tournaments, but feel that the wellbeing of everyone involved is most important at this time,” BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said in a statement.
“We share the disappointment of many around the world who were looking forward to the return of badminton and appreciate all of the continued support from our fans and partners as we continue to navigate the remainder of the 2020 season,” he added.
The pandemic has upended sports events around the world, from the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to the cancelation of Wimbledon.
On Tuesday, the WTA Pan Pacific Open in Japan, one of Asia’s top tennis tournaments, was canceled for the first time.
Last week, the men’s ATP Tour and women’s WTA Tour announced all tennis tournaments in China for the rest of the year had been canceled, including the Shanghai Masters and WTA Finals in Shenzhen.
Badminton is massively popular across Asia and the China Open is one of only two top-ranked World Super Tour 1000 series tournaments on the calendar while the Japan Open is one of the five annual World Tour Super 750 events.
In a normal year devoid of the travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, both would have attracted fields containing all the world’s top-ranked men and women players.
Later events in Asia such as the Super 500 Hong Kong Open in November and December’s World Tour finals in China remain listed on the calendar, but the BWF cautioned that a decision on future events “will be made in due course.”


Racing in the streets: Jeddah to host first Saudi F1 Grand Prix

Updated 29 October 2020

Racing in the streets: Jeddah to host first Saudi F1 Grand Prix

  • Kingdom’s inaugural race to take place in city while purpose-built track at Qiddiyah is being completed

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix next year will take place on the city streets of Jeddah.
The Saudi Grand Prix appears on the provisional F1 calendar for 2021 that has been distributed to race teams. It is expected to be the penultimate race of the 2021 season, which will conclude
with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit.
Jeddah will host the Saudi race while a new purpose-built track at Qiddiyah is completed, which is expected to be in 2023.
It is one of 22 races on a provisional 2021 schedule as F1 plans to return to a calendar as close to normal as possible after this year’s disruption. The first 10 races of the 2020 season were either postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

HIGHLIGHT

The Saudi Grand Prix is one of 22 races on a provisional 2021 schedule as F1 plans to return to a calendar as close to normal as possible after this year’s

The 2021 season will begin in Melbourne, Australia in mid-March and then goes on to Bahrain. It includes nearly all the races that had been due to be held this year.
That means a return for grands prix in China, Japan and Canada, which had to be cancelled because of the disruptions to international travel caused by COVID-19, as well as the debut of the Vietnamese Grand Prix.
F1 has been in conversations with the relevant national governments and all are said to be in agreement the races can take place, unless the pandemic worsens.
In 2018, Riyadh hosted the first Formula E championship in the Middle East in Diriyah with 23,000 in attendance. The second Formula E championship was held in late 2019.
This year, Saudi Arabia held its first Dakar Rally, a 7,800km race that began in Jeddah and finished in Qiddiyah.