The All-Indonesia Badminton Federation (PBSI) said on Wednesday that the decision was prompted by the spike in cases due to the spread of the Omicron variant in European nations.
Indonesia team pulled out of the Badminton World Championship 2021, starting Sunday in Huelva Spain, due to the concern over the spread of the new Covid variant, Omicron. The All-Indonesia Badminton Federation (PBSI) said on Wednesday that the decision was prompted by the spike in cases due to the spread of the Omicron variant in European nations. Meanwhile, defending world champion Kento Momota has withdrawn from the competition due to an injury, the BWF confirmed.
“The Indonesian badminton team has withdrawn from participating in the 2021 BWF World Championship which will take place in Huelva, Spain, on 12-19 December 2021,” Badminton Indonesia wrote on its Twitter handle on Wednesday.
“With this decision, the Indonesian team will immediately prepare for the tournament in 2022.”
“We don’t want to take any risks. Athletes’ safety and health are paramount. We have also discussed with the players and they agreed to withdraw from the World Championships,” PBSI development and performance division head Rionny Mainaky said.
“In addition, there is also an appeal from the government of the Republic of Indonesia, in the midst of a pandemic that has not subsided, to reduce travel activities abroad. Moreover, in a number of European countries there has also been a rapid spike in Covid-19 cases.”
The event will lose a lot of sheen with the withdrawal of the Indonesian team which boosts a number of world class players. Top seeds Kevin Sanjaya-Marcus Fernaldi, second seeds and defending champions Mohammad Ahsan Hendra Setiawan and sixth seeds Fajar Alfian- Rian Ardianto in men’s doubles.
In men’s singles, fifth seed Anthony Ginting and seventh seed Jonatan Christie and Olympic champions and sixth seeded women’s doubles pair of Greysia Polii-Apriyani will be missing in action.
Earlier this year, badminton powerhouse Indonesia had announced to withdraw from the Thomas and Uber cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the tournament has been rescheduled to October, with participation from Indonesia who won the Thomas Cup for the first time in 19 years.
Two-time defending champion Momota has failed to recover from a back injury. Earlier, the 27-year-old Japanese star had pulled out of his Group A opening match against Lakshya Sen at the World Tour Finals in Bali, Indonesia after sustaining a back injury during training.
“BWF can confirm the unfortunate news that world No.2 and men’s singles defending champion Kento Momota has pulled out with injury,” the game’s world governing body said in a statement.
“Momota also withdrew from last week’s HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2021 with a back issue and has returned to Japan.”
Momota had participated in six events since the resumption of the BWF World Tour Finals after the COVID-19 pandemic break.