China to host first badminton event since start of Covid-19 pandemic

China will host its first international badminton tournament since 2019 with the season-ending World Tour Finals in December, the sport’s governing body has announced.

The Badminton World Federation canceled two events scheduled in China, but said its $1.5 million showpiece finals would take place in Guangzhou from December 14-18.

China has canceled almost all international sports competitions since Covid emerged there in 2019, with the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February this year being a rare exception.

These were held in a strict “closed loop” to thwart the coronavirus and the BWF did not immediately say whether the Guangzhou finals would also be held in a “bubble”.

The World Table Tennis Team Championships begin on Friday in the Chinese city of Chengdu in a “closed loop”, all under the country’s strict “zero-Covid” policy.

December’s World Tour Finals will feature the top eight players and pairs from each category for their share of what the BWF has called “the biggest prize pool ever seen in badminton”.

“We remain confident that our hosts will stage a spectacular final with the highest level of safety and player comfort,” said BWF General Secretary Thomas Lund.

The southern city of Guangzhou also hosted the finals in 2018 and 2019.

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