The 2020 World Junior Badminton Championship, which was postponed to be held in New Zealand in January, was on Thursday cancelled due to the restrictions and uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.Also Read - After Cities, Omicron COVID Cases Likely To Go Up In Villages: Experts

The competition was originally planned for September-October but was pushed to January amid the raging pandemic. Also Read - Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Tests COVID Positive For Second Time

“…the entry restrictions in place and complexities related to the COVID-19 situation makes it impossible for the event to be planned and therefore hosted in New Zealand in January 2021 as currently scheduled,” said Badminton World Federation (BWF) Secretary General Thomas Lund. Also Read - Omicron in Community Transmission Stage in India, Dominant Strain in Metro Cities, Confirms Govt Body

“With a host for the 2021 already in place…and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation expected to stretch into next year, postponement was not an option,” read the BWF statement.

However, Badminton New Zealand are still committed to hosting the BWF World Junior Championships and the BWF has accepted a proposal for them to stage the 2024 edition as a replacement for the edition lost.

Hosts for the 2021, 2022 and 2023 championships were already awarded by BWF Council in 2018, making 2024 the next available year. The BWF expressed regret to the players who will be affected.

“We appreciate that some junior players will turn 19 years old in 2021 and unfortunately miss out on a BWF World Junior Championships experience. We can only encourage them to continue to develop their talent as badminton athletes and start to enter open international events.

“It has been a difficult and extraordinary year during the pandemic but we all look forward to a more consistent junior international badminton calendar in 2021 and the next BWF World Junior Championships in China in October 2021,” said Lund.