Spain's Simon Cruz in action at the last European Championships (credit Badminton Photo)

Spain cancelled, the end of the road

3/7/2020 12:01 PM | |  Bobby Griffin (BEC)

The exceptional circumstances that are currently related to the COVID-19 outbreak has led to the cancellation of the 2020 Spanish Para badminton international, and means the Paralympic qualification process has already come to an end.

Memorandums were circulated yesterday from the BWF via all governing bodies to announce the last minute cancellation of the Spanish International tournament, which would have been the final competition to allow athletes a chance for ranking points leading to this summer’s Paralympic Games.

The Spanish Badminton Association confirmed the decision to cancel late Friday on the advice of Spanish health authorities and their continued concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak. The statement read:

- We have received clear instructions from the Spanish Health Authorities and, therefore, we are obliged to inform you of the cancellation of the Spanish Para badminton International 2020. Unfortunately, we have had to make this decision, as we have to follow health authorities directions strictly in this alert situation.

BWF Tournament Series Manager for Para badminton, Syahmi Sabron was on hand to add his thoughts to the disappointing news:

- The health of athletes and all others involved is the priority, and whilst this news is a shame we must look for positives. This helps keep people safe under these current circumstances and the host made this decision before most athletes flew out to Spain

Read: BWF press release: Spain cancelled 

The Road to Tokyo comes to an end

Whilst the health and safety of all athletes, staff and entourage is a priority, the decision to cancel this event means that the journey towards Paralympic qualification has been cut short and ends with those rankings points earned in Brazil and Peru last month.

We will never know whether the outcome of results in Spain may have helped or hindered the chances of qualification for some Europeans. 

Fourteen year old Beatriz Monteiro (POR) is the sixth SU5 female by unique nationality in the Race to Tokyo rankings, and after impressive performances in South America just weeks ago, she would have been hoping to pick up crucial points to possibly earn a place in Japan

England’s Martin Rooke (WH2) and Krysten Coombs (SH6) are ranked fifth and fourth respectively in the same rankings. Good results that may have happened in Spain could have helped solidify a place at the Games, whilst a poor performance may have helped rivals take their spot.

We spoke with Coombs yesterday to find out his perspective on the last minute announcement, he had this to say

- It is what it is, and it is out of our control as athletes. I have done everything I could have to fight for a place at the Paralympics and of course I am disappointed not to be heading out to Spain to compete.

- It hasn’t really sunk in yet, that the road to Tokyo 2020 has come to an end. There is nothing more anyone can do and I will have to wait for the IPC and BWF to confirm the bipartite slots to see if I have a place or not.

The announcements to confirm draw sizes, wildcards and bipartite slots will be made within the next two to three months. Watch this space for more news relating to 2020 Paralympic badminton.

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