World Champions Kento Momota & PV Sindhu No Longer Automatically Qualify for BWF World Tour Finals

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Kento Momota wins the 2019 World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China, on Dec. 15, 2019. (photo: Xinhua)
Kento Momota wins the 2019 World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China, on Dec. 15, 2019. (photo: Xinhua)

Kuala Lumpur: The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has scrapped the rule which allowed reigning world champions direct qualification in the season-ending World Tour Finals.

“Players will qualify for the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 in Bangkok (Thailand) according to current regulations,” said BWF in a statement released on Sunday.

“The exception to that is current world champions will not get an automatic invitation (World Tour Regulations, Clause 8.2.3) and only points earned from World Tour tournaments will be taken into account. The SaarLorLux Open 2020 is not part of the qualification process.

The remaining Grade 2 tournaments counting towards qualification are:

DANISA Denmark Open 2020 (HSBC BWF World Tour Super 750)
Asia Open I 2020 (HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000)
Asia Open II 2020 (HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000)

Due to necessary adjustments to the original European and Asian legs and the originally planned safety/quarantine procedures, players do not have to participate in both the European and Asian legs to qualify for the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020.

However, players must be entered in both Asia Open I 2020 and Asia Open II 2020 to qualify for the season finale,” continued BWF.

Kento Momota who defeated Anders Antonsen 21-9, 21-3 while PV Sindhu overcame Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 to win the men’s and women’s titles respectively at the 2019 World Championships that was held in Basel, Switzerland, had pulled out of the 2020 Denmark Open and will now have to play at the Asia leg tournaments next January in order to make it to the World Tour Finals.

“Sindhu will try to play well in the Asian legs if there’re no more postponements,” said Sindhu’s father PV Ramana to Indian media.

“But, her main focus next year would be the All England and Olympics,” added PV Ramana.

BWF also stressed that players would need to arrive a little early in Thailand for the Asian legs due to COVID-19 protocols.

“The players must arrive in Thailand at the required date/time (to be advised) ahead of the start of Asia Open I 2020. It is not possible for players to arrive later (e.g. during either Asia Open I 2020 or Asia Open II 2020) due to safety and quarantine requirements.”

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