Thailand will kick off the 2021 badminton calendar in January
Thailand will kick off the 2021 badminton calendar in January Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Thailand will officially open the international badminton season while hosting three main events in early 2021.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) and the Badminton Association of Thailand (BAT) had a brief virtual signing ceremony to confirm the hosting of two HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournaments and the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals scheduled to be held in Bangkok in January.

Hosted by BWF Deputy President and President of BAT, KhunyingPatama Leeswadtrakul, the ceremony was attended by BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer and BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund in the presence of Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, and the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Phipat Ratchakitprakarn.

The BWF calendar will officially get under way with the two Super 1000 events — the Yonex Thailand Open from January 12-17, followed by the Toyota Thailand Open from January 19-24. The third and final event will be the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 from January 27-31.

The Asian leg for international badminton follows the successful staging of the Danisa Denmark Open 2020 held earlier in October even though the BWF had voted in favour of postponing the Thomas and Uber Cups following the pull-outs by many nations.

During the course of the signing ceremony, Hoyer expressed his keenness in returning to a cautious, yet full-fledged badminton calendar. “The Asian leg presents an important opportunity for us to kick-start badminton’s successful return and to see our players back in action,” he said.

“Thailand has a strong history of organising major badminton tournaments and we trust our hosts to deliver a spectacular month of badminton in January 2021. Together we have the chance to make badminton shine once again on the international sports calendar.”

Ratchakitprakarn was keen on continuing the Thai legacy of tourism and sports. “These three badminton tournaments are considered a great opportunity to restore the country’s tourism economy. It is also showcasing Thailand’s potential to host world-class sporting events,” he said.

“The staging of the tournaments aligns with the vision of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to develop and integrate tourism and sports. Furthermore, the three events can also be criteria for other sports competitions in Thailand in the new normal.”

Kelvin Tan, CEO of HSBC Thailand said HSBC was looking forward to a fantastic conclusion to the HSBC BWF World Tour 2020 season. “We are pleased to see the safe return of international badminton to Asia — a sport that means a lot to us and our customers across the region. We’d also like to thank BWF and the tournament hosts in Thailand for enabling these sporting events to go ahead with the health and safety of fans and players as a firm priority. We look forward to supporting an exciting month of badminton in January 2021,” Tan said.