BWF freezes world rankings, calms players' fears


The Badminton World Federeation on Tuesday announced that they would freeze all world rankings at the senior and junior level, saying that the standings as of March 17 would be the basis for entry and player seedings when it restarts the international calendar.

The rankings on March 17 are the last set published by the BWF, before the international body was forced to suspend the badminton season owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Badminton World Federation (BWF) can announce it will freeze World Rankings and World Junior Rankings until further notice," they said in a statement.

"The freezing of rankings will be backdated to week 12, which is the week following the last international tournament that was played - the YONEX All England Open 2020.

"The ranking lists issued on March 17 2020 will serve as a basis for entry and seeding into the next international tournaments - although it is difficult to say at this stage when this may be."

The BWF's call to freeze the rankings would go some way in calming the fears of players around the globe, who had already criticised the world body for the delay in announcing the decision.

"The ranking is still not frozen, points of last years Swiss open have been removed. ATP froze the ranking.. we should learn from tennis. Disappointing!" Parupalli Kashyap, a former Commonwealth Games champion, wrote on his twitter handle.

The freezing of the world rankings to the position they were on March 17 means that PV Sindhu is the highest ranked Indian women's singles player at No.6. B Sai Praneeth and the pair of Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will be ranked 10th in the men's and men's doubles list respectively. Ashwini Ponappa and Sikki Reddy will be 29th in the women's doubles category while Sikki and Pranav Jerry Chopra will be ranked 27th in the mixed doubles category.

The BWF added in it's release that they were still looking to find a solution to how the ranking points would be unfrozen when the calendar starts once again.

"We are seeking to define a solution to unfreeze the rankings in a staggered way to avoid any extreme drop off of points from previous tournaments causing an extreme impact on the ranking structure," the release said.

The BWF added that the freezing of the world rankings wouldn't have an effect on the qualification process for the Tokyo Olympics which were postponed until July 23, 2021. The original qualification period was between April 29, 2019 and April 26 2020, but the last couple of weeks had seen the cancellation of multiple tournaments. These tournaments included big-ticket events like BWF India Open (Super 500), Malaysia Open (Super 750) and the Singapore Open (Super 500), apart from the three Continental Confederation championships.

It is understood that the qualification process would start afresh since the timeline of the BWF calendar would have changed. The BWF release said a final decision on the qualification process will be made over the next few weeks.