Bangalore: The World Badminton Championship to be held in Birmingham, UK, from May 12 to 18 has been postponed by the International Badminton Federation organizers due to the SARS scare. Three hundred and fifty players from 48 countries including India were to play in the tournament. The cancellation of the seven-star tournament, ranked only behind the Olympics, has led to huge disappointment among badminton players worldwide and among Indian players as well. Aparna Popat, Nikhil Kanitkar and Abinn Shyam Gupta were going to take part in the women's and men's singles events respectively. Another four players were to go for the doubles. "Three months earlier they had decided that the players who are in the top 60 will participate in this tournament. Nikhil Kanitkar and I were both selected for this in the men's category, but since we are not going, it is a big setback," said National badminton champion Abhinn Shyam Gupta. "This was one of the qualifying tournaments because the Olympic qualifying period had started from May 1. So this was to be the first tournament and also one of the most prestigious tournaments," said former All England champion Prakash Padukone. "Of course, All England and Olympics and other events are there but I think the World Championships has its own charm and importance. So it would be definitely a big disappointment for those who have not been able to take part," added Padukone. Now the players will have to wait for another international event. "Well, we have the Asian circuit coming up in June and July, where they will be taking part in the Malaysian Open, Singapore Open and the Indonesian Open. Of course we are not very sure that those tournaments will also take place," observed Padukone. Meanwhile, a badminton camp which was being held in Bangalore for the players in the run-up to the championship will continue till May 8. National coach Vimal Kumar, said, "The camp is still on because this is an opportunity for all the national level players from different parts of the country to get together." Championship or no championship, the game must go on.
Topics : Badminton