Badminton’s China, Japan Opens axed because of coronavirus

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

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.”


Adailton fires Tokyo into Asian Champions League last 16

Updated 04 December 2020

Adailton fires Tokyo into Asian Champions League last 16

Adailton fires Tokyo into Asian Champions League last 16

DOHA, Qatar: Brazilian midfielder Adailton scored a brilliant solo goal in the first half as FC Tokyo edged past Perth Glory 1-0 to seal the second round-of-16 spot from Group F in the Asian Champions League on Thursday.

South Korean giants Ulsan Hyundai had already made the cut as guaranteed group winners, leaving FC Tokyo and Shanghai Shenhua scrapping for second place with both teams on seven points from five matches.

But Shanghai Shenhua fell to a crushing 4-1 defeat by Ulsan on Thursday to exit the tournament, while FC Tokyo’s narrow win over Perth Glory helped them maintain their record of qualifying for the knockout phase every year since their continental debut in 2012.

Adailton was in the thick of the action in the very first minute at the Education City Stadium when he went for a spectacular bicycle kick off a cross from Takuya Uchida only to see the ball sail over the goalpost.

But he compensated for that miss in style seven minutes later with a brilliant 30-yard burst down the left flank, scoring with a curling shot past Perth goalkeeper Liam Reddy.

Two minutes later, Adailton found himself in a great position to strike again but his powerful effort from outside the penalty area saw Reddy producing a fine save.

Perth Glory took control of the match in the second half but could not get past the Tokyo defence, ending up at the bottom of the table with just one point from six matches.

FC Tokyo coach Kente Hasegawa said he always had confidence in his team’s abilities.

“Today we are very happy about qualifying for the next round. Some players who didn’t play much before played today and Adailton scored a very good goal,” said Hasegawa.

“We tried to score more goals in the second half but also we knew the result of the other game (Ulsan were leading 2-0 against Shenhua at half time), so we were more comfortable.”

Perth Glory’s Cristian Ola said fatigue was a big factor for his team’s poor show.

“Not happy with the result but happy with our boys’ efforts and display considering it was their fifth game in a short space of time which is not something we are used to,” said Ola.

“Fatigue was our biggest opponent today but congratulations to FC Tokyo.”

Shanghai Shenhua’s defeat by Ulsan Hyundai meant they failed to make the last 16 for the first time since 2006.

Having booked their knockout berth earlier, Ulsan made several changes to their lineup but Park Jeong-in and Lee Sang-heon put them 2-0 ahead at the break.

Bjorn Johnsen then added a second-half brace as the Koreans recorded their fifth straight win.

“After we qualified for the round of 16, I expected a few players might lose concentration but all the players concentrated and played well,” said Ulsan coach Kim Do-hoon.

“We had a lot of young players and they did their job. I asked them to play aggressively with combination play and high press, and they did it all very well.”

Shanghai Shenhua’s Choi Kang-hee said the Covid-19 pandemic meant they faced a number of difficulties in playing the competition.

“We understand it’s a pandemic. It’s a special time, and we have to play in this kind of way, but we hope in the future the tournament won’t be played with such a tight fixture list.”