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Badminton: Thomas and Uber Cup postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: China's Zhao Yunlei (R) and her partner Wang Xiaoli kiss their trophy after winning their women's doubles final match against Japan's Miyuki Maeda and Reika Kakiiwa in the Uber Cup badminton championship in New Delhi May 24, 2014. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee/File Photo

(Reuters) - This year’s Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Denmark have been postponed until 2021 after the withdrawal of several teams amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said on Tuesday.

South Korea and Indonesia pulled out of the biennial championship on Saturday, joining Australia, Taiwan and Thailand.

The Finals were originally scheduled for May but were first postponed to August due to the COVID-19 crisis before being moved to Oct. 3-11 when the Danish government extended its ban on large gatherings.

“The BWF, in full consultation and agreement with local host Badminton Denmark, has made the tough decision to postpone the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020,” the BWF said in a statement.

“The decision comes following the withdrawal of a number of participating teams from the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals and the European leg of the adjusted BWF World Tour.

“These are exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in and while a return to international badminton remains a priority for the BWF, the health and safety of the entire badminton community is of utmost importance.”

The sport’s governing body said it was looking at possible alternative dates to reschedule the team championships but not before 2021.

The Denmark Open in Odense, part of the BWF World Tour, would go ahead as planned from Oct. 13-18 while the Oct. 20-25 Denmark Masters, also scheduled for Odense, had been cancelled, the BWF added.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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