Latvia leads the way in restarting badminton
Kristians Rozenvalds, Secretary General of the Latvian Badminton Federation (LBF) and Tournament Director of Yonex Latvia International has made a key announcement.
— We have made a difficult decision. We will not withdraw the Yonex Latvia International 2020, although the number of registered players is three times lower than in previous years. We respect every one of the 118 players who have trusted us. We want to give faith to all the players, coaches, managers, umpires, sponsors, and media that badminton returns to normal life.
The Yonex Latvia International 2020 will take place in Jelgava, 45 kilometres from Riga, the capital. The tournament will take place on new dates, from 28 to 30 August. The tournament was originally scheduled 28 – 31 May and was postponed because of COVID-19.
Online registration closed on 28 July. 118 players from 19 countries have registered for the tournament.
In 2018, the Yonex Latvia International was the largest tournament in Europe, with 335 players from 40 countries. The tournament will be the first world ranking tournament after the Yonex All England Open.
LBF has stated that an advantage of the tournament is that Latvia is a country with very low levels of COVID-19 and that epidemiological security will be ensured at the tournament.
The Latvian government has taken a decision that will help organise such a tournament. International sporting events, such as the Yonex Latvia International, will also be open to players from ‘blacklist’ countries without the 14-day self-isolation. Participants from such countries when crossing the border of Latvia will take a COVID-19 test. A negative result must be presented within 24 hours of crossing the Latvian borders. The test must be performed in Latvia. Participants receive special rules only to participate in the competition, but in other circumstances, self-isolation requirements must be made, including no tours, parties, etc.
-The reduction in the number of players makes it possible to reduce the number of days of the tournament — not four but three days will be needed. Thus, there will be savings on the rental of a sports hall, less time in the hall will be spent by umpires, line judges and staff. Only four courts, not six, will be needed, so overall fewer umpires and line judges will be required. Kristians Rozenvalds sees the positives under these circumstances.
LBF appeals to players and coaches to delay any prepayment reservations and to purchase transport tickets with the possibility of alteration or cancellation. With the final word, Kristians Rozenvalds states.
-At the moment, no one can be sure of what happens tomorrow. But we believe we will succeed.