'Race to 2024 Olympics' badminton qualification to begin in China

AFP , Monday 29 Aug 2022

Qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics will start in May next year in China, badminton officials said Monday as they unveiled a beefed-up calendar for the sport's re-emergence after Covid.

2024 Olympics

The 2023 season will start at the Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur in January.

The year-long "Race to Paris" Olympic qualification will begin on May 1 with the Sudirman Cup in Suzhou, China, from May 14-21 the first eligible ranking tournament, the Badminton World Federation said.

The Race to Paris rankings on April 30, 2024, will be used to determine the initial list of Olympic qualifiers.

Most international sport in China has been cancelled since the pandemic but at least three tournaments are scheduled there in 2023, the BWF said.

And China is still pencilled in to host three tournaments later this year, including the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals, but they remain in doubt because of the country's strict "zero-Covid" measures.

BWF secretary general Thomas Lund believes the sport can look forward to a return to normality over the next few years.

"As we emerge out of Covid-19, we are now able to structure a full week-by-week tournament calendar with an emphasis on expanding our global footprint," Lund said.

He also hailed "higher prize money, increased player opportunities, greater coverage on television and online, and spectacular presentation".

Next year's world championships will take place in August in Copenhagen  -- this year's ended on Sunday in Tokyo -- though a host for the 2023 Tour Championship is yet to be announced.

The 2024 season will also start at the Malaysia Open and, like 2023, will be followed by the India Open in Delhi.

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